Since WCF opened six years ago we have faced numerous challenges as with any new venture. Thanks to the wonderful supporters of WCF we have always pulled together and tackled each challenge with confidence. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever contemplate needing to deal with a global pandemic but suddenly LOCK-DOWN was upon us. There have been highs as well as lows during the past 4 months and we have done our best to ride this Corona-coaster with the same team spirit that has always made WCF feel so special to everyone associated with it.
Isobel and I set up a rota of contacting everyone we would usually see every week and tried to find ways to help everyone feel connected. We have messaged, emailed, phoned, and even used good old Royal Mail to send news, photos, cards and video updates as regularly as possible, and to check how everyone was coping with the situation.
Keith (aka Mr Quizmaster) was tasked with doing a quiz for the staff team via WhatsApp. He applied himself to this with great enthusiasm and has kept our brains well exercised over the weeks (as well as causing some hilarity) with questions ranging from Anatomy to Zoology and even some requiring in-depth knowledge of the Teletubbies.
If you have been following us on Facebook and Instagram you may have seen the following…
Lambing at the beginning of April was much nicer for our ewes thanks to everyone who helped raise the funds to buy our field barn. We were also grateful for your help with naming 11 lambs (Bevan, Bart, Barnaby, Begonia, Betsy, Buddy, Buttercup, Blossom, Byron, Bluebell, and Bramble).
The piglets, Tulip and Daffodil, have grown from those cute new arrivals on 7th March to the courgette devouring video stars pictured on 31st July. They love to have their backs scratched with the special brush made by Tom P.
Two of the female geese became broody and sat for weeks and weeks on an ever increasing clutch of eggs but sadly did not manage to hatch a single gosling.
Tomato plant sales rocketed this year with so many people choosing to grow their own food rather than attempt a supermarket shop during lock-down. We delivered plants locally and discovered lovely tucked away homes in places we have never had cause to visit before.
Our virtual Easter egg hunt on Facebook received a record number of viewings even though there was no chocolate involved. Did you spot all 32 eggs?
Joel, with the help of his boys (aged 5 and 2 yrs), continued his role as WCF’s resident musician and entertained the team with some fabulous songs (and slightly dodgy camera work). Please have a listen to Joel’s band’s EP “I just want to go outside” via our Facebook page.
The swallows returned to their old nests in the attic and we managed to photograph a very newly hatched chick. They are now building up their strength and preparing for their long journey to South Africa for some winter sunshine.
As new life was being celebrated by the swallows, some semblance of our “old life” at WCF was starting to shine like a bright light at the end of a long tunnel. In early June we were given the go ahead for our teenagers to restart their weekly sessions and then gradually we have had the green light for most of our adult clients to return. We have put a lot of work into minimising any risk of Coronavirus being brought to or passed on at WCF and everyone is starting to settle into the new routines. We currently have smaller groups for shorter sessions over more days. We are staying with 2m social distancing, spending most of our time outdoors or keeping doors open when inside, and taking each day as it comes until the risks from Coronavirus, or the weather, dictate any change of plans…
Also, in June 2020… “Make hay while the sun shines” was literally the case on Thursday 25th June. William, Sam, and I, ably assisted by Clair driving the tractor, were tasked with bringing the hay in. We had not banked on temperatures reaching 30°C that morning.. However, heavy rain was forecast so we knuckled down and got the job done, and before you ask… “ NO” it did not rain after all 😊.
And finally… on Tuesday 28th July we started planning for Christmas when we took delivery of 20 turkey poults. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see how incredibly quickly they grow and how very loveable and entertaining turkeys can be!
Written by Jo Ballin
Rain, glorious rain!
Without rain our beautiful Worcestershire countryside would not be the green and pleasant land we know and love. We don our wellies and waterproof clothing and carry on with our normal day to day routine of tending to the animals and harvesting our well-watered vegetables for lunch. On Thursday 21st November 2019, just over a week before our Christmas Market, the rain and I were not such happy companions. The water table was already up and as more rain fell our ducks became happier and I became increasingly more nervous. I looked at the field we had prepared to use as a car park for our Christmas Market and realised that it was suitable for hovercraft but not for vehicles with wheels. We were not expecting any hovercraft at our event. We were, however, expecting more cars than we could accommodate on the available concrete. Oh dear, what do we do now?
Where could we offer as alternative car parking? Wick village does not have a car park. The nearest available actual car park is at Pershore College. It was a longshot but what else could I do… I decided to approach the college and at the same time to ask Pershore volunteer centre if they could provide a minibus and driver. At Pershore college every member of staff who heard of my plight greeted me with sympathy and encouragement. Unfortunately, my timing was the problem as the college had two events of their own on the same day so were willing but unable to accommodate us. The 14 local artisan stallholders were on tenterhooks waiting for the final decision. Was the event on or would we be forced to cancel?
The volunteer centre minibus does not usually operate at weekends. They kindly sent an email to all of their qualified drivers. Great news! A wonderful gentleman by the name of Ian agreed to kindly give up his Saturday to help us out by ferrying those visitors who had to park further afield. The decision was made, the event was on, but would people attend on a soggy Saturday in November?
Our huge team of amazing volunteers were not put off by the prospect of spending their Saturday sloshing around a muddy farmyard in their wellies, in fact quite the opposite, they enlisted additional family members to help us out. The scene was set. Santa was ready, the stallholders had set up a display of goods that would put Harrods to shame, the café was crammed with home-made cakes, soups and tasty treats, the brazier was lit for the mulled apple juice, and the band began to play. The car parking team were briefed and kitted out in high vis jackets (with walkie talkies kindly loaned by a generous young man).
And people arrived! It was very heart-warming to see so many people supporting this event. We were delighted to greet so many old friends and to welcome lots of new faces to Wick Care Farm. The rain held off for the entire event and I did not hear a single grumble about the inevitable muddy surroundings. We made a total of £1532.80 which will be used to improve the facilities and activities on offer to our groups. Thank you to everyone who supported this event by coming to help, to spend your time and money with us, or simply by coping with the additional traffic without complaint. We look forward to offering you all a warm welcome our next event on Saturday April 25th 2020.
The sun shone, the mulled apple juice was brewing and stalls were set up in our 'lamb barn', while the cafe team served hot soup and a delicious variety of cakes inside at our Christmas Fair. We felt blessed and delighted by the turnout so a big thank you to all of you who came and supported us. Stall holders were happy about the new venue, remembering last year when we shivered in the yard despite the brazier going. Another addition this year was the presence of an experienced Santa who sat in his grotto with lights twinkling on the branches behind. It really felt like the build up to Christmas has started.
Preparing crafts and preserves for our events has been a welcome focus at the Care farm in the last few months. New volunteers have brought new skills - needle felting and willow work; it has been interesting and satisfying being able to use other natural materials especially using some of our wool.
One of our visitors was Rose who has visited the farm many times with a group of home educators. This is what she had to say:
My name is Rose. I am nine years old and live near Pershore. I have visited the care farm over the years with my home educated friends. There is a lot to learn at the farm. The animals and the people at the farm are all very friendly.
I visited the Christmas Fair there this weekend. There were lots of cool Christmas gifts and decorations to buy. There were lots of yummy cakes to eat and also hot spicy apple juice. My Mum bought a small real Christmas tree with lights on and I won a paint and glitter your own piggy bank in the raffle. Santa was there with some sweets too.
It was a cold but sunshiny day and I enjoyed my visit. I would say it is a really good place to visit.
My name is Laurie Archer and I am 12 years old and have been volunteering at Wick farm since I was 10.
Today I will be writing a little about the fundraiser that was held on Saturday, 23rd of September. Proceeds were divided between supporting projects at Wick Care Farm and the Alzheimer' s Society.
When you arrived at the farm, you were greeted by a friendly warden who showed you to your parking spot. In the main yard, there was much to see and do! There were stalls selling unique, fun things and everyone on the stalls was very friendly.
Wick Care Farm events are free entry and free parking and you also have many chances to take part in competitions including a tombola and a free prize draw. There are farm animals to visit including pigs, sheep, chickens and geese and there are garden plants for sale.
The lovely thing I feel is that everyone who is there to help is volunteering! The age range is big too. There are volunteers, me included, who are still kids, but what I find great is that regardless of age, everyone has an equal role.
The range of tea and cake were to die for! All of them made by volunteers and lots of people said they tasted GREAT! I served tea, coffee, cold drinks, cake, sandwiches and soup. There was lemon drizzle, chocolate, fruit, red velvet and fairy cakes, and that’s to name just a few! There was also a fantastic range of gluten free cake too. Being gluten free, sugar free and dairy free, it’s hard to eat out and I still found a wonderful cake that was free from all three! I loved it.
Well, that concludes my piece for now but I help at all sorts of events that the farm hold. So, if you fancy swinging by at any of our events, I might just end up serving you in the tearoom! The next event is the Christmas Fair on Saturday November 25th between 11am-2pm where seasonal food and drinks, plants, gifts, wreaths, chutney and jams will be for sale. Until then, goodbye!
I am Laurie Archer, an 11yr old Home Educated child from Worcestershire and I volunteer at a few of Wick Care Farm’s events and today I am reviewing the 2017 Open Farm Sunday.
Open Farm Sunday is a nationwide festival to celebrate farming across Britain. There are 50,000 farms across the UK yet sadly only 400 took part in this special event which means having Wick involved is even more special!
On Open Farm Sunday, Wick Care Farm was abuzz with people. The volunteers provided a trail, served tea and cake, offered fun with soil experiments and there were tractor rides too! So, whether you are young, old, or just in the middle, Wick had something for everyone.
While I was volunteering, I observed the goings on in order to write a review of the day.
When you arrived, you were directed to the car park by a friendly traffic warden, one of which was my 9yr old brother. After that, you made your way to the yard where on your left, there was a craft activity tent, a live bee demonstration and a massive tractor to ride. You sat up high in the trailer, munched on home grown peas, and watched the view go by!
After that, there was a wide range of craft and science experiments to try - from muddy fun to sticky glue! And if that wasn’t enough, there was an amazing trail for the whole family to enjoy. Follow the flour and you can’t get lost! The trail took you round the fields, across the farm track and through the grass. After the walk, (and you’ve collected your sticker) you could walk into the barn and enjoy a wide range of delicious cakes! From scones to lemon drizzle, the café really had it all. Everyone is very nice and always happy to help whenever you have a question.
Now you have seen what an utterly incredible place Wick Grange Farm is, I hope you can attend one of their future events soon!
On Saturday 22nd April, Wick Care Farm held another Pop-up Market. Old friends and new turned out in their droves to support this event and to find out what’s going on at the Care Farm this Spring...
Everyone here has been very busy over recent weeks preparing for the “big day”. We have been mowing, planting, potting on, baking and DIYing in readiness. Our animals have all been educated in how to 'Meet and Greet' our guests; all but the geese have been very welcoming!
We never cease to be amazed at the generous support we receive from friends of the Care Farm for which we are hugely grateful. Donations of raffle or tombola prizes were plentiful and tickets were easy to sell thanks to the quality and quantity of prizes on display.
Our Café once again was extremely popular and the choice of delicious treats on display made choosing a very difficult task, even for those who are gluten or dairy free. A light lunch of homemade quiche, soup, or filled rolls also proved a winner.
Outside visitors and stall holders alike enjoyed sitting in the glorious sunshine listening to the cheerful sound of our live band “Biff Bang Pow” who kindly gave their time to support our event. This skiffle rock'n'roll trio gave us some fun-packed versions of country classics and new-wave wonders which had us all boogying along. In the words of one of our regulars 'the music brought us all together'...
Laughter and chatter could be heard all around. Families were able to spend time communing with the animals or playing skittles and the marble game, which added a new dimension.
The market stalls offered a wide variety of beautiful hand crafted items including jewellery, walking sticks, sewn items and lip balms, as well as plants, cards, preserves and honey.
We raised just over £1500, which is fantastic! This money will be going towards a second wood burning stove, in our craft/cafe area, and fencing for the animal enclosures.
Our next market will be at Christmas - Saturday November 25th, same time, same place with a Christmas theme. If you would like a stall, please be in touch..
By the end of the day, we felt exhausted but, more importantly, we felt immensely proud to be part of such an amazing team!
With the Care Farm now entering its fourth year we would like to update you on what will be happening here in 2017...
Having gradually increased our days for regular groups, we are now open four days a week. Our groups on Monday/Tuesday/Thursday are mostly for adults plus one or two places each day for students referred from local high schools. Although we like to keep the family feel by keeping our numbers small, we have decided to offer an additional ninth place on each of these three days which means we now have spaces available. On Wednesdays, during term time, we have students from three local high schools.
Currently our Fridays are reserved for educational visits when schools, pre-schools, home educators, or other groups of children or adults can book a visit specifically tailored to their requirements. We are also happy to accommodate evening visits; these have been much enjoyed by local groups such as Rotary clubs, Church groups, and Brownies/Guides to mention but a few. You can find out more by clicking on the “Ed. Visits” link above. Anyone interested should contact Isobel Meikle on: 07967173740 or Isobel@wickgrange.co.uk
Our friends Lorna and Jerry from Elmley Castle did an amazing job with their lambing this season; as a result, January saw the arrival of eleven orphan (cade) lambs at the Care Farm. It’s lucky there is not much planting or watering to be done at this time of year as bottle feeding and exercising these little bundles of joy has been the main focus for our regulars; plus a sudden surge of educational visits. If you haven’t already, take a look at our Facebook page to see pictures of us with our lambs. We are also grateful to Lorna and Jerry for the loan of handsome Hercule the Ram back in November 2016. All being well, we will be lambing our own ewes any time from 1st April. Ed has been booked in to fence off a paddock for our lambs to go out in so we can convert the lamb barn into a lambing barn. A new and exciting experience for everyone at the Care Farm!
Our Berkshire pigs have now left the farm to make room for two new piglets due in April. Having worked with various breeds of pig at the Care Farm over the years, we all agree that the friendliest pigs were our Large Blacks from Mike at HMP Hewell. These lovely girls would happily roll over to enjoy a good belly rub and we are awaiting news of a new litter. If anyone is interested in sponsoring a pig for your freezer we will be glad to take care of everything for you.
This spring, as in previous years, will see us incubating any fertile eggs we are lucky enough to be donated. We are hoping our ducks will decide to sit on their own eggs once the weather warms up, and we will be buying in twenty day old chicks to raise and sell on as point of lay pullets.
As well as caring for our animals, we try to be as self-sufficient as possible. Seeds will be sewn and potting areas are prepared. When the seeds begin to sprout and grow we hope to end up with a wonderful variety of fresh herbs, salads and vegetables to use in our delicious home-cooked lunches. We also like to grow flowers to decorate our dining table and give the place a homely feel.
The polytunnel which we fundraised for in 2015 is a tremendous asset. It provides a space, whatever the weather, where we can work. The more physically active of us have helped to build and fill some new raised beds. The less physically active of us enjoy sitting under cover to plant seeds and bulbs. The process of planting, growing, harvesting, preparing, cooking and eating our own produce offers huge health benefits for everyone at the Care Farm.
**Gardening is an area where we need more volunteers to help us. If you are a keen gardener with a couple of hours to spare each week we would love to hear from you.**
With self-sufficiency playing such an important role, it is our aim to introduce a wider variety of fruit onto the farm. We plan to build a fruit cage, plant an edible hedge and create a small orchard of apples, pears, plums and cherries which will also provide some shade for our free range hens. It’ll be great to make pies, crumbles, jams, chutneys and jellies from our home grown produce. You can buy our Care Farm preserves at our next Pop-up market on Saturday 22nd April. Keep an eye on our website for more details about this forthcoming event.
Don’t forget to keep up to date with what we’re doing at Wick Care Farm by following us on Facebook – find the link on our homepage.
We had an absolutely lovely time at our Christmas Market on Saturday 26th Novemeber. A BIG thank you to all who helped, supported and donated towards the day's success. Thank you to the stall holders who joined us, and an even BIGGER thank you to all who attended. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
Here are a few photos from the day...
On Saturday 24th September, Wick Care Farm opened its gates to raise money for Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. Having had a very successful event on the previous two years, the team were prepared for a busy morning. The field had been mown into a car park with volunteers at the ready with a warm welcome and clear directions.
Inside, the tables were groaning under the weight of a delicious array of home-made scones, flapjacks and cakes of every flavour with not a single soggy bottom in sight. The smell of fresh coffee percolated the air as the first guests were greeted and faced with the difficult question of which cake to choose. The tables looked delightful dressed with colourful table cloths and flower arrangements. Raffle tickets were in great demand thanks to the many donations of desirable prizes.
The Care Farm used the opportunity to sell some of their jams, chutneys and plants and to invite the local community to enjoy their facilities. Tours of the Care Farm were another popular aspect of the morning with people, who benefit from attending this Day Opportunity, keen to show visitors around and tell them how they enjoy being part of this very special place. Visitors were introduced to the animals and amazed by the variety of tomatoes and other plants being grown there.
As the final visitors drove away with happy smiles and plates of cakes, the money was counted and a grand total of £604 for Macmillan was announced with Gift Aid yet to be added.
The team at Wick Care Farm want to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported this worthwhile event and look forward to welcoming one and all to their Christmas Market on Saturday 26th November.
Open Farm Sunday turned out to be a great success. At least 200 people came and had a look around and took part in the activities on offer. There was a great mix of people of all ages from babes in arms to grandparents and seniors. We were lucky with the weather which made it easier; however, a few people said it was too hot to walk the mystery trail! Tom, aided by Zac in the trailer, did not stop doing trailer rides - 7 times they set off with a full load down to the river where they ate peas and listened to Tom answer questions on the farming, wildlife and conservation. The Care Farm animals proved very popular too, especially the ducklings who looked cute and quacked away merrily and our large black piglets who performed to order by lying down to have their bellies rubbed when given the right fuss. Other activities included a mystery trail, planting bean or pea seeds in a newspaper pot, a pollinator survey, looking at a beehive and equipment, handling and experimenting with different types of soil, digging for mini-beasts and crafts. There was a steady flow of people seeking refreshments and the atmosphere was happy and relaxed. Many thanks to everyone who came and for all the positive comments made on the feedback forms. Also many thanks to all our helpers - we could not have done with out them.... We hope to do it again next year.