During the Covid-19 pandemic, you, our wonderful customers, raised a whopping £15,000, just by adding £3 to your order through The Covid Fund. Two years on from the first UK lockdown, we are grateful to still be receiving your donations and so we are transitioning to a permanent initiative, The Community Fund. This will continue to support the same people who The Covid Fund supported, but enable us to plan and attend to their needs longer term, providing valuable access to food and wellbeing programmes.
Read on to find out more about the history of the Covid Fund and what’s in store for the new fund.
Why the Covid Fund was set up
With social restrictions in place during the pandemic, and people less able to get involved at The Farm, we were forced to find new ways of supporting our community. To do that, we set up a donation fund aimed at providing food and other support to local groups who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Our unique position in a local network of socially-minded organisations meant that we were able to provide our customers and friends with the option of supporting local, trusted and valuable initiatives in a way that was simple and safe and aligned with our shared values.
We simply encouraged customers to add a £3 donation to their order with us and were overwhelmed by the response!
To find out more about the history of the fund, you can read on here.
What the money has been spent on
- Two Trees Catering: Providing nutritious meals to people shielding during lockdown
- Earthwise: Delivering kits to help children reliant on food banks to access the outdoors
- EcoWild: Delivering mindfulness kits for adults during lockdown
- Incredible Edible: Providing money towards polytunnel repairs for a small, local farm, so that they could keep feeding Bristol
- Groundwork South’s IMPACT project and EcoWild: Building a lasting partnership between Groundwork South, EcoWild and The Community Farm to deliver programmes of work for Bristol-based refugees and non-EU migrants who want to understand farming and rural British life better and share their own knowledge, experience and skills.
- EcoWild: Providing seed funding for a local Pakistani women's group to The Farm to spend time together and in nature, share familiar food, and learn about what grows here and the methods we use
- Borderlands: Providing food to a drop-in centre for refugees, asylum seekers and those with insecure immigration status facing poverty and hardship
- Aid Box Community Activity Groups: Facilitating a series of days on the land for Bristol-based refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom manage on less than £6 per day and have been extremely isolated during Covid, the opportunity to get out of the city, explore their new homes, share skills and experiences, learn about food and farming and spend time together getting to know more of the UK and its heritage
- Coexist Community Kitchen: provided produce towards their community cookery classes for people accessing support services and 150 food boxes for local people struggling with food access
- The Farm’s Wellbeing programmes, Grow and Make and Wild Steps have provided spaces to 13 people on their courses, which are designed to provide respite to those facing mental health challenges
Our work with Aid Box Community and IMPACT have gone on to become long lasting partnerships, building on the experiences The Covid Fund enabled. Thanks to these pilot projects, we have secured significant further funding for these new partnerships to establish over the next two years. Given what some of the participants have been through, these projects were a powerful moment of respite in deeply disrupted lives.
Why we’re continuing to fundraise
The Covid Fund has been a fantastic success thanks to your generosity! Although the fund was set up as an immediate and short-term response to the pandemic, there is still an enormous need in our community to nurture relationships with the land, farming and wildlife; and to help people access fresh, nutritious food. Our customers have not only shown us their incredible generosity, but also that they trust us to find and support worthwhile initiatives, so we intend to continue that process.
The new fund
The Community Fund will focus on providing access to food and to the land for people in our community by working in partnership with a network of local organisations.
It will work in the same way as The Covid Fund, you can simply add a donation whilst shopping with us by adding The Community Fund as an item in your basket. You can choose to make a one-off or regular donation, and you can increase the amount you donate by upping the quantity of the item in your basket.
We will keep all customers updated with how the money is being spent on our website and via our newsletter.