I can remember being so excited and writing about us clocking up 1000 volunteer hours. When we hit the 2000 hour mark we were all thrilled and amazed, what an achievement that was… I can hardly believe the total now (I guess the number at the top of this article gives the game away) – we have gone past 5000 hours (5184 to be precise). That equates to almost £40,000 at minimum wage rate! £40,000 that we have not had to get funding for.
These figures are staggering and they don’t even include all the time spent by the wonderful people who run our charity shop (and help pay for what we do on the farm) or the professional services we have received free of charge.
Well done to everyone involved, even if you have only ever spent an hour with us, we appreciate your help, skill and support. Without you we would not be where we are now. We appreciate you all so much.
The result of all this work is that we are almost ready to open our gates officially and start the work we were set up to do, namely, care for vulnerable people in a safe environment.
Of course, we have already been caring for people and established a community where everyone knows that they are welcome, they are encouraged and they are valued. Pathways has become a great place for meeting new people and establishing new friendships. Here are just some of the notes I have received in the last few weeks: “What a privilege it is to be on the farm and spend time with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met” “Thank you, my husband loves being on the farm, he is like a new man” “I have had such a great day, I can’t wait to come back next week”.
Comments like these make every one of those 5000 hours worthwhile and I want to pass on the tributes because it’s you that have earned them.
The stable conversion
The old stable was one of the last barns to be worked on, probably because it was in such a bad state of repair and needed so much work. However, in order to have a room dedicated solely to our service-users when we open in April, it will be the first building to be completely transformed. We have finished clearing the old debris, rubbed down and repaired floors, walls and ceilings. We have insulated and laid new floors on ground level and in the hay loft. We have put in a staircase and battened the walls. Next we will put in new electrics, windows, doors and a kitchen and put up the wall panels.
This great old building will then be ready as a service-user’s common room and a classroom or meeting room. The photos above show the before and the now… I can’t wait to welcome the first people into the finished space in a few weeks time. A fantastic achievement.
On Friday 11 March we hosted a corporate volunteering day for a small (but highly select) team from Cefas. I was rather concerned after we had set the date as the weather was awful for a couple of weeks and the farm had started to become a very muddy quagmire rather than the normally very pleasant pastural landscape we know and love… I shouldn’t have worried as the day was stunning and bathed in sunshine.
The photos show a couple of the projects we completed: a rather lovely weaved fence was erected and one gate was removed (which involved a huge effort to dig out a gate post that had been cemented in place! – see below) whilst another gate was fixed in position.
All in all, a lovely day with lovely people and something tangible to show for it. Thank you guys.
The Tesco voting is now finished but we don’t yet know the result. I’ll let you know how it went in my next update but thank you to everyone who was able to use their little red tokens on our behalf.
We have sold some hay but still have plenty more, if you know of anyone who wants a few bales (£3.50 each or £30 for 10) just put them in touch with me.
Lastly, if you are not doing anything important and you would like to help us continue the preparations for opening in April, please join us this Saturday (19th March) anytime between 10 and 4.