Pandemic sufferers to be offered farm therapy to help them recover

Iris Van Zeton and Doeke Dobma, tenant farmers, at Clinks Care Farm in Beccles

Care farmers Iris van Zon and Doeke Dobma of Clinks Care Farm in Beccles which is offering therapy for those who have suffered ill-effects from the pandemic - Credit: Danielle Booden

Up to 60 people whose lives were shattered by the pandemic are set to benefit from a new form of farm therapy created in East Anglia.

Clinks Care Farm at Toft Monks, Beccles, is offering a farm-based treatment for people left struggling as a result of the major health crisis.

The Life After Covid Farm Therapy Project aims to help sufferers overcome the long-term effects of the pandemic by reconnecting with nature and the great outdoors.

The care farm – run by Doeke Dobma and Iris van Zon – hopes the new programme will help alleviate some of the pressure on the NHS and support those struggling as a result of the pressures of having had the disease or suffering psychological effects from lockdown and isolation. A few people have already enrolled and are feeling the benefits, said Iris.

The occupational therapy-led six-week programme involves one session a week with individual goals. Individuals can be referred by their GP or health professional or can self-refer, and if necessary the course can be extended. The free sessions last a day or half a day. 

“We have funding for the project for one year and are looking to help 60 people during this year. Depending on success and more funding, the project may continue after the first year,” explained Iris.

“As we come into the spring, we will be able to enjoy lambing time, the flowers and longer daylight hours – a good time to show yourself kindness and boost energy and wellness levels in a natural environment.”

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The courses are aimed at people who are feeling low or depressed where conventional treatments haven’t worked, key workers who have been badly affected by the pandemic, those who were left socially isolated, vulnerable and anxious following long periods in lockdown, people suffering post-viral symptoms and those worried their pre-existing physical health problems make them more vulnerable to future Covid-19 infection.

The care farm is already involved in a host of activities to help vulnerable people and those with a range of conditions or social setbacks to feel revitalised through farm activities and has built up a strong reputation in the field. 

The Life After Covid scheme will offer physical activities such as feeding livestock, tending the cut flower garden, preparing Clinks Farm grown vegetables for sale. There’ll be the chance to talk to care farm staff in an informal relaxed environment, learn about good diets and re-learn old skills or learn new ones. Participants also get to improve their fitness while looking after the animals and tending the vegetables or flowers.

For more information contact Life After Covid project worker Lydia Keep on 01502 679134 or email