Tractor offers ‘fantastic boost’ to care farm helpers at Millennium Farm Trust

Tim Freathy, centre, director of the Millennium Farm Trust (MFT), with, behind him, donors Geoff Pol

Tim Freathy, centre, director of the Millennium Farm Trust (MFT), with, behind him, donors Geoff Pollard, left, from the Rotary Club of Bury St Edmunds and Andrew Hunter, right, from Bury Physio, surrounded by MFT staff and Farm Helpers. - Credit: Archant

A farm-based charity for people with learning disabilities and physical and mental health problems is celebrating after it received a new tractor and cultivator paid for from donations from two Bury St Edmunds organisations.

Physiotherapy clinic Bury Physio funded the purchase of a new tractor for the Millennium Farm Trust (MFT), based at Rookery Farm, Depden, while the town’s Rotary Club donated £1000 towards a cultivator attachment.

Care farm director Tim Freathy said it was “a fantastic boost” to its activities.

“We are so grateful for the support from Bury Physio and the Rotary Club,” he said.

“Thurlow Nunn Standen Ltd have given us a generous discount on the purchase price of the tractor and Bury Physio made up the rest of the cost.

“The tractor will help us grow more vegetables for our veg box scheme, to be launched in the coming months. This will provide commercial outlet for our fresh produce - vegetables, salads and fruit.

“It will also be used by the farm helpers to manage the mountains of compost our animals produce.

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“This means a great deal to our farm helpers. We will spend less time digging and barrowing, and more time growing.

“And we’ll need all of that time if we are to deliver on our veg boxes to local people.”

Andrew Hunter, a partner at Bury Physio said: “We are delighted to extend our support of MFT for another year. It is a great local charity and plays an important role in the community.”

Geoff Pollard, chairman of the Rotary Community Committee, said when its members heard that MFT needed a cultivator for their new tractor, they were delighted to make their wish come true.

“We are pleased that our donation will help to make life easier for the Farm Helpers at Depden,” he said.

The trust, founded in 1996 through the enthusiasm of a group of people with learning difficulties and disabilities, aims to fill a gap in 18-plus provision for people who have finished school or left college and has a strong emphasis on building confidence, social skills and personal development.

The work at the farm is geared towards building confidence and develop social and practical skills, with outdoor physical activity improving mental and physical fitness.