Beccles: Clinks Care Farm hosts launch of rural opportunities project

Yarmouth and Waveney PCT has agreed to fund a new care farm initative at Clinks Farm, Tofts Monks

Yarmouth and Waveney PCT has agreed to fund a new care farm initative at Clinks Farm, Tofts Monks Farmer Doeke Dobma (right) Allie Kirk (support worker in black top) with Claire Drake ( in tractor ) Tom Read (left) and Lee Lambert. EADT 25.9.10 EADT 31.12.10 - Credit: Archant © 2010

A rural opportunities project involving care farming will be launched next Friday.

Three years ago Clinks Care Farm, at Toft Monks, near Beccles, started under the leadership of Doeke Dobma, who has developed programmes to provide flexible training for people with a range of difficulties including mental health problems and substance abuse.

Land agent Andrew Crossley, who helps to manage Norfolk County Council’s 16,320-acre tenanted estate, said the 143-acre farm had been transformed. It used to be run by one man and now there were two full-time staff, eight part-timers and 17 volunteers.

“It was an amazing transition in a short period revitalising the area and enhancing employment prospects,” Mr Crossley, who briefed about 25 people at a Norfolk Care Farming meeting at Easton and Otley College.

A year ago, neighbouring landowner and South Norfolk Sir Nicholas Bacon welcomed the pioneering concept of “care farming” in the Waveney Valley. Mr Bacon will now be officially launching the project.

A strategy of concentrating on practical skills training, either by looking after livestock including pigs, sheep, goats or chickens and learning key horticultural skills, has enabled many people to take the first steps to more stable employment.

Sir Nicholas, said that the work of the “care farm” had been of benefit to other farms and businesses in the surrounding area.