Life at Bath City Farm has a strange silence to it now, with no visitors and our volunteers unable to spend time at the Farm.
Spring is normally one of the busiest times of the year for us. There is so much to be doing at the Farm from tending the plants in the poly-tunnels and raised beds, anticipating the arrival of any new-born animals and running all our regular volunteer groups.
The Farm is a special place in the lives of so many across our city, whether families bringing their kids up to see the hens and goats, or our community of volunteers whose time with us is often the only time that they might socialise with other people.
That is why we’re so determined to keep things going as best as we can following government guidelines.
One way we have been doing this is by using social media. Our weekly live broadcast of the animal feeding via Facebook with Joe Keppie-Bray – at 11am on a Saturday morning – has gone down so well reaching thousands of people across the city, UK and even as far as Australia.
It is so important to keep people connected digitally with the animals and Pam the Pig has become one of the stars of the show. And thanks to the Bath Echo and national media coverage, more people now know about life on the Farm.
As a team we have been focusing hard on keeping in contact with our volunteers. Many of our regular volunteers face many challenges in their life and the Farm community is all about nourishing people and creating a sense of community together.
We have been ringing round regularly to see how people are coping with staying at home. For me this shows Bath City Farm as its best with our passionate and committed staff thinking of others and how we can support them through a difficult period.
Lunchtimes are such an important part of life on the Farm, with volunteers eating together and spending time catching up. It might be that this is the only cooked meal that they have in a week. That is why Farm staff have been cooking, packing and delivering food to help people in the local community – so far more than 500 portions have been made.
We have been grateful to receive donations of meals from Wessex Water, as well as donations of ingredients from our local Sainsburys, Waitrose and Co-Op shops, which we have turned into delicious meals.
One of our meal recipients, who lives alone and is experiencing difficulty with her mental health, said: “These meals are the best part of my week at the moment, I’ve looked forward to it all day. I’m so grateful, thank you for looking out for me.”
It means so much to the Farm to be able to make a practical, immediate difference to people who need someone to turn to at a time like this.
There’s a long road ahead, but thanks to donations we’ve received over the last few weeks, we’re hopeful for the future of Bath City Farm. New life will be coming to the Farm soon with the arrival of goat kids, piglets and chicks. We’ll be keeping everyone posted on the latest news about when they arrive.
You can support the work of the Farm – from feeding the animals to supporting the staff as they cook and deliver meals – by visiting https://localgiving.org/donation/bathcityfarm. For updates on life on the Farm you can follow us via Facebook or Instagram.
Helen Fisher is the General Manager at Bath City Farm