Care farm celebrates five years of its ‘farming on prescription’

Clinks Care farmer Doeke Dobma (pictured right) will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of this ca

Clinks Care farmer Doeke Dobma (pictured right) will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of this care farm next week. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2015

An East Anglian care farm is set to celebrate five successful years of its ground-breaking ‘farming on prescription’ initiative next week.

Clinks Care Farm, based at Toft Monks near Beccles, has helped nearly 150 people with mental health problems by giving them the chance to work on a farm through the innovative project. It will celebrate its fifth anniversary on the farm on Friday.

Doeke Dobma and Iris van Zon will be showcasing their work and the positive impact the initiative has had by helping people feel better and reducing their need for clinical interventions.

The celebration is aimed at professionals, including commissioners, providers and clinicians.

The project began in 2010 when Doeke and Iris joined forces with NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to successfully bid for NHS Innovations East funding.Five years later, it is the only one of 18 initiatives which was granted funding which is still running.

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Doeke said: “We are delighted the scheme has been so successful and that we are now celebrating our fifth anniversary.

“So far, we’ve supported almost 150 patients. After 12 weeks on the farm, many find their feet and are able to move on in society, feeling energised, motivated and more confident. Some secure employment though our engagement with local and rural employers, while others go into further education and volunteering.

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“We have also carried out analysis with those taking part which shows their mental and physical wellbeing improves significantly after time on the farm, which highlights the value of the work we are doing.”

Kim Arber, programme board manager for mental health and learning difficulties with the CCG, said: “We are really pleased that the farming on prescription initiative has been such a huge success.

“Those taking part have found the programme really worthwhile, and have either returned to work, started volunteering or moved onto training and education following their placement at the farm.

“We’re delighted to be celebrating this important anniversary and look forward to the next five years of success for Clinks Care Farm.”

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