Exmoor National Park have recently volunteered staff to help prepare the college farm asset at Minehead in readiness for government funded holiday activities. The West Somerset College Farm, an agriculture and horticultural educational facility on the outskirts of the town, comprises animal grazing, barns, industrial greenhouses and a large classroom which have lain dormant for the past two years. The site is being brought back into use with the help of the West Somerset Opportunity Area, which plans to run holiday activities with food there, to support families and children in the community.
Julia Ridge of Somerset County Council says: “The West Somerset Opportunity Area recognises the value of the farm unit to the people of West Somerset. Not only is it a great resource to help young people train for a rewarding career, there is also a lot of potential to host other different community projects here too.”
“Children have missed out on so much interaction since the beginning of the lockdown restrictions, so we are really pleased to be able to recondition the unit. It is a great place for young people to be with their friends, have fun, develop their knowledge of food production and farming and enjoy nourishing food at the same time.”
Tony Mann foreman from Exmoor National Park has worked with staff who trained at the unit, he adds: “This is exactly the kind of project we love to do and really what our work is about, helping the public make the most of our outdoor spaces. It is a pleasure being part of the effort to bring this place back to life.”
Peter Elliot, leader of Bridgwater and Taunton College Trust said: “We are incredibly grateful to the Exmoor National Park and their colleagues for their generous support to prepare the farm facilities for future use. We are excited that the facility will be available for the community to use for various projects across the coming months.”
The West Somerset Opportunity Area will be involved with the site until September this year. It will be running holiday activities with support from local charities and the government’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme, part of a Covid-19 response package which has been extended into 2021. Activities are scheduled to begin at Easter.