A major new organisation to support and promote land-based community development, green care and social care will be launched in April, following an agreement to merge between the Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens and Care Farming UK.
The new organisation will build on the work of the two current organisations, representing and supporting the delivery of care services and community development through farming and gardening activities.
Much recent research has shown how city farms, community gardens and other community managed green spaces have an vital impact on health, wellbeing, education and sustainable development of community facilities, often in deprived areas. While care farming in the UK has grown in prominence in the last decade as an effective form of health and social care - so much so that the expansion of care farming in the UK was mentioned this week in DEFRA’s 25 year environmental plan.
It is hoped a new, merged organisation will be in the best position to take advantage of the current levels of interest and support for this work, increasing the number of projects capable of delivering services and helping them become more sustainable.It will also provide support and inspiration to the whole nature, health and wellbeing sector. The joint organisation will also use its influence to encourage more investment and funding opportunities and concentrate on persuading Government, health services and business to do more to support this work.
FCFCG Chair David Drury said: “We are delighted to be able to confirm the merger with Care Farming UK. We believe this move will help us deliver better services and more benefits to our members, and enhance our power to influence Government and funders, as well as increasing our public profile.”
Chair of Care Farming UK, Rev. Andrew Harter commented: “We are extremely pleased to be able to announce this new, forward-looking move, which will enhance the support and opportunities being offered to care farmers in the UK into the future.”
Discussions about the new name and branding of the merged organisation are ongoing, but in the the meantime, both organisations will continue as normal with all current projects and work delivery.
The new merged organisation will be officially launched at a conference in Manchester on 24-25 April titled: ‘Growing Better Lives 2018’.The event is aimed at community gardening and farming practitioners and care farmers, pus academics and representatives from other organisations in the sector and government officers.
The conference aims to increase awareness and understanding of how the work carried out by care farms and community farms and gardens can significantly improve people’s lives. There will be a host of speakers, workshops, site tours, a community garden party and an awards ceremony. There will be opportunities to meet and network with other community farming and gardening practitioners.