As an outdoor facility Rhubarb Farm was fortunate to remain open to our supported
volunteers throughout the year, including the winter lockdowns. We also continued to
provide weekly food bags (using produce from Fareshare) and deliver hot meals to people
who were socially isolated.
To help us support as many volunteers as possible we converted a polytunnel into a Mess
Room to enable greater social distancing. This provided much needed indoor space as the
winter approached.

In September we became the first English provider of The Royal Caledonian Horticultural
Society’s (The Caley, based in Edinburgh) Grow and Learn award. This is an alternative
learning opportunity for those who find mainstream learning challenging. We can now offer
all volunteers an opportunity to do either an ASDAN qualification or Grow and Learn
depending on their ability and need. We find that enrolling volunteers on a qualification
helps give them a focus and purpose for what they are doing, while building confidence.
Many of our volunteers have not suited a traditional education setting, so doing a
qualification at the Farm can show them what they can do.
During the winter we were unable to do many indoor activities, but made the most of the
outdoor facilities of the Farm, went on fruit-picking walks, and completed some wall
Volunteer Neil and support worker Richard putting in a fence Volunteer David turning the compost
New mess room ,aka polytunnel building and other maintenance on an external site. Attending the Farm meant that
volunteers’ isolation reduced, they were increasing their activity levels (many had done very
limited activity over lockdown) and it helped mange their mental health after a very
challenging time.

By Springtime (and with coronavirus restrictions easing further) most volunteers had
returned to the Farm. We had a very busy few months sowing, planting and harvesting. In
June we were able to reopen our Farm shop on a Friday and Saturday.
Community fun
In October 2020 we held a pumpkin picking event which proved very popular. Young and old
turned up to pick pumpkins, enjoying the fact they were outdoors in their bubbles. We will
be running the same event in October 2021 as it’s a good way to bring local people to the

At Christmas we held a cress ‘mas’ growing competition for one
of our local primary schools, and our shop was open in the runup to Christmas selling a whole host of Christmas items and
food. We also had a Christmas appeal in which we raised
£2,000 to provide a Christmas hamper to all the volunteers and
families that we had been supporting during lockdown.

We have recently been able to reinstate our open tours of the Farm for individuals to look
around the Farm and learn more about what we do.
In August we held a Sharks in the Park picnic on the adjacent Rec Ground to the Farm, to raise
awareness of the dangers of loan sharks. Local families were provided with a picnic, we had a
bouncy castle and put on some games. 101 children and 66 adults attended – it was a great
success and we hope to do similar next year. One significant benefit we have seen at the Farm in 2021 is through the recruitment of a
Food Champion. They are responsible for our food bag and hot meals service, catering and
food/nutrition education for volunteers. The funding we have received from Vegware has
helped to provide flooring and wall covering for the food packing area.

We continue to provide around 25 food bags a week to volunteers and people in the local
community. Until August 2021 we were delivering around 25 hot meals a week to people in
the community who were socially isolated, and using food containers which we purchased
from Vegware! Now that restrictions have eased we are reopening our community café so
people can enjoy a meal with others.
We are currently supporting 60 volunteers throughout the week.