Volunteers build new features at care farm helping youngsters learn new skills

Volunteers from Hopkins Homes including James Hopkins (back row, third from left) with staff from De

Volunteers from Hopkins Homes including James Hopkins (back row, third from left) with staff from Deben Community Care Farm and children from the Pitstop Preschool in Melton. Far left is care farm director Heather Heelis, and Andrea Pittock and Judy Dow from Suffolk Community Foundation are on front row Picture: ANDREW HENDRY - Credit: Andrew Hendry

A care farm which boosts the confidence of youngsters and adults has been fitted out with new features, thanks to help from volunteers.

James Hopkins, executive chairman of Hopkins Homes, Heather Heelis, director of Deben Community Care

James Hopkins, executive chairman of Hopkins Homes, Heather Heelis, director of Deben Community Care Farm, Joshua Hopkins, land buyer at Hopkins Homes Picture: ANDREW HENDRY - Credit: Andrew Hendry

A total of 20 staff from housebuilder Hopkins Homes at Melton, near Woodbridge, carried out a range of work at nearby Deben Community Care Farm, on Wednesday, May 23, including constructing a polytunnel, raised beds and fencing around two paddocks.

Hopkins Homes executive chairman James Hopkins said it was a “pleasure” to lend their construction skills support to the projects, helping the care farm to achieve their goals of providing more activities and continuing their work with adults and young people in the community.

“Last year we expanded the Hopkins Charitable Fund and through this we have contributed financially to a wide range of charities and groups across East Anglia. However our intention behind the fund was not just to provide monetary support, our staff want the opportunity to offer some hands on help too,” he said.

Heather Heelis of Deben Community Farm said: “This polytunnel will be used for a community growing project, giving those who do not have gardens, and would like some company, the chance to grow produce as part of a team.”


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The three-acre farm was established in 2015 as a place where children, young people and adults are welcomed into a caring and nurturing environment that builds self-esteem, confidence and respect while providing opportunities to learn new skills.

The farm now runs a forest school programme for 40 children from the local pre-school and has recently starting working with two pupil referral units.

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“The work we do with young people gives them skills and opportunities which make an important contribution to their development as well as giving them a better understanding and connection to the land and produce around them,” said Heather.

The day has been organised by Suffolk Community Foundation which administers the Hopkins Charitable Fund in the county. Its chief executive, Stephen Singleton, said: “We’ve worked with James Hopkins for a number of years and know how passionate he is about strengthening communities and supporting local groups who work so hard to achieve this.”

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