Across England and Wales, regional winners of the Rural Business Awards are waiting with bated breath to find out if they will win at the national finals on Thursday 27 February. The annual awards ceremony, to be held at the Monastery in Manchester, celebrates the best in British countryside-based enterprise across a wide range of categories – include the Outstanding Rural Diversification Project sponsored by Fisher German. Let’s look at the story behind the Wales regional winner, Clynfyw Care Farm.
Based in Abercych, Pembrokeshire, Clynfyw Care Farm is a Community Interest Company which supports disabled and vulnerable people from across the local area. The farm has been run by the Lewis-Bowen family since the 1750s, and it was in 1985 that holiday cottages on the site were made wheelchair accessible. Due to their success and a growing local need, the care farm was launched in 2011 which runs six days a week, providing interesting, fun and educational projects and activities for vulnerable people.
It also supports eight people living in cottages on the site and offers a respite service, and is a major local employer in the rural area with 40 members of staff. Jim Bowen, Clynfyw Care Farm manager, said: “We have around 40 people that visit the care farm on a regular basis for our day service. The projects are based around the interests and needs of the people that come here, so we do everything from arts and crafts, drama and music to growing projects, apple juicing and charcoal making.We also run projects which allow people to contribute and make a difference, one of our most successful being ‘The Wheelie Good Idea’ where we fix wheelchairs and send them in shipping containers to those in need in South Africa.
The project was launched after a few people said they had an interest in fixing things such as bicycles, and now we are making a positive difference on a global scale. We are not grant dependent, but are funded through council contracts and are financially robust. We are a huge advocate of care farms and are keen to see more established so that vulnerable people in rural areas aren’t left behind as we see more and more funding cuts to services. They are also key for building resilience in rural communities as the detrimental effect of the climate crisis changes our social structure. We have even written a book about how to run care farms to encourage more people to set them up. We are extremely proud to win a regional Rural Business Award and be recognised for our work, and we now look forward to the finals.”
Clynfyw Care Farm will be competing against other regional winners in the diversification category including Corkers Crisps, Hall Farm Park and Wadswick Country store. David Merton, Head of Rural at Fisher German, said: “Clynfyw Care Farm is a fantastic example of how diversification can have a hugely positive effect on a rural community. The work they are doing is incredibly inspiring and it is excellent to hear that the farm is financially robust while changing the lives of local people, and even those further afield.”
Follow us on Twitter @fishergerman to read more stories from the regional finalists of the Outstanding Rural Diversification Project category.