Volunteer Profile: Elaine and Anthony Lewis

The next instalment in our volunteer stories series, is from Elaine and Anthony. This story was originally featured in the Summer 2021 edition of the Grazer!

Back in August 2018 we visited the farm for the very first time; it was just two months after Anthony lost his dad. Wrexham Adult Social Care had very little to offer us and so we contacted the farm to find out more about the Youth Project. Having met with Mike Price, the previous Youth Project Manager, and Bex, Manager of the Care Farm, we were thrilled for Anthony to start attending one day a week as part of the Youth Project and one day a week as part of the Care Farm.

Anthony began to thrive, really benefitting from his time on the farm and building a close relationship with those he worked with, so we were nervous when Mike Price retired. However, we shouldn’t have worried as Anthony has built a wonderful relationship with Mike Grabarz. Anthony has learned lots of new skills and been given real responsibilities, and he loves working with and helping other members of the Care Farm.

When Anthony turned 26 he became too old for the Youth Project and so moved to a one-to-one day with Mike working on specific projects around the farm. Throughout lockdown the contact, time and support we’ve been offered at Fordhall have been so very valuable to us both, and much needed.

Last summer the Afternoon Amble began (the weekly walk and craft group established to support those suffering from isolation and loneliness), and I was invited to come and support Caroline, the session leader, as a volunteer. I love crafting and love Fordhall so it’s been wonderful to learn some new crafts and see the group grow and evolve, with many members coming week after week.

Anthony was keen to join the Farm Fridays volunteer group that takes place on the same day as the Afternoon Amble, so he now joins that session and works hard in all weathers to complete some exciting projects on the farm, supported by his friend Isaac Sometimes he joins us on the Afternoon Amble, sometimes the lure of an exciting volunteering project is too much and he continues his work with that group whilst I enjoy exploring the farm with the Amble group!

We’re now on the farm four days a week: Anthony is with the Care Farm two days a week, 1 day a week with Mike and 1 day with the Farm Fridays volunteer team. Anthony thrives in group settings; we just love the landscape, people and learning opportunities the farm brings for us.

Our most exciting volunteer projects to date have been the construction of The Straw Lodge and building the Greenwood Shelter, both buildings that are bringing so much opportunity to the farm, and we’re proud to have played our part in bringing them to life.

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