Volunteer Profile: Chris

The next chapter in our volunteer stories series is Chris’ story! This was originally published in the Winter 2021 edition of the Grazer.

We love talking to our wonderful volunteers to find out what their story is, what initially drew them to Fordhall, what keeps them coming back. The wider Fordhall volunteer family is as much part of the farm as the fields and the trees and without them we would find it almost impossible to do what we do. The reward for us is also knowing often volunteers gain as much as they give, hopefully benefitting physically or mentally, perhaps making new friends or simply enjoying becoming part of something bigger, together.

For this edition I sat down to chat with Chris in the Greenwood shelter as he took a break on a Farm Friday, I enjoyed the late Autumn sun and the opportunity to learn more about one of our wonderful volunteers!

New to the farm

Chris only lives 20 minutes away but hadn’t heard about Fordhall or visited until he was introduced via Enable, (a Shropshire organisation that helps support people into work). Enable arranged for Chris to visit the farm with his job support worker and take part in a work placement.

Chris first came to volunteer in September 2020, since being introduced to the farm by Enable now attends independently, volunteering on a weekly basis and has been doing so for over a year now.

As well as volunteering at Fordhall Chris is about to start work volunteering at a hospice charity shop as well. That will be a new experience as he hasn’t worked in a shop before and is looking forwards to learning new skills.

When Chris isn’t volunteering he  loves playing football, gardening, playing on his X-Box computer games and helping around the house.

Why Fordhall?

Chris told me, “I love the fact Fordhall is open to everyone, it’s a relaxing place to be with an interesting big mix of people spending time here. I really enjoy doing woodwork and working on some of the big farm maintenance projects with Mike and the other volunteers”.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills, like re building the steps at the farm yurt and installing an electric fence to keep the livestock off the wedding field. Some of my favourite moments have been working in event support with the Fordhall team, my first was the Pumpkin Hunt in 2020 when we had over xxx people visit in the farm in 7 days!! It was super busy but great fun. I also worked on the Picnic with the Lambs event this Easter, again we had a large number of visitors, it was great to see so many new people enjoying the farm”.

Hopes for the future?

“I really enjoy my time at Fordhall, it makes me feel happy and I like the fact I can get ‘hands on’ in so many different projects. In the future I would love to work for Fordhall, maybe supporting children, young people and volunteers so they can get involved just as I have”.

Nicola Syred, Enterprise Support

To find out more about volunteering at Fordhall, email volunteer manager Mike at mike.grabarz@fordhallfarm.com