Clinks Care Farm
Clinks Care Farm Ltd. is a care farm and a rural social enterprise launched in July 2009. It was born out from years of research, fact finding visits, piloting and meetings with senior commissioners, politicians and civil servants. Clinks Care Farm Ltd. has been from the beginning a leading advocate in East Anglia promoting the care farm social and economic model combining the care of the land with the care of people. We use the activities on a traditional mixed farm to benefit those who are disadvantaged and marginalised in our society. Most people benefit from attending the farm from a therapeutic angle, developing social skills, tackling isolation but also as a preparation (re-)entering to the world of work. Our primarily beneficiaries are those who attend the farm regularly and are people suffering and recovering from mental health issues, recovery from substance misuse, people with mild- to moderate learning disabilities, people recovering from brain injuries, disaffected young people and children struggling in education and people with dementia / Alzheimer’s’. We also cater for family carers and refugees / asylum seekers providing respite and a bit of ‘me time’. We promoted and adopted the health and social model from Norway and the Netherlands where local GP’s refer patients suffering from mild to moderate mental health issues to the care farm as part of their recovery and treatment. Farming on Prescription is commissioned by the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group since April 2012 after a successful pilot project which started in October 2010. GP’s referred over 150 patients of which 30 (re)entered the world of work whilst other patients took on further education, volunteering or work experience with different employers.
The exposure to a supported and well-structured outdoor farm environment increases physical health and mental wellbeing. The focus is on encouragement, motivation, learning, ‘have-a-go’ approach, team work and above all; jobs people can do and taking ownership! Getting people out of their bed, going through their front door with a packed lunch using the public transport to the farm is a key motivational achievement and sets the tone for the future for that particular individual. We create that sense of belonging and participation by involving people to work with livestock, growing produce such as vegetables, potatoes and salads, the mixture of arable and farm conservation projects but also building maintenance schedules and use of small and large farm machinery.