Week 27 – Time to look back

digging the beds

It’s hard to believe that so many weeks have passed since we first began The Digging In Project in conjunction with Beacon House.

We thought this would be a good time to look back at all we have learnt and reflect.

Promoting the Project

With most projects, you are working with a set of people that do not change. The nature of the circumstances of the people who use Beacon House – homeless people – mean that we don’t know from one week to another who will be working with us and so there isn’t a high level of continuity. Some people do return for many sessions and it’s always great to see their confidence grow over the weeks.

We have learnt the hard way that we need to frequently visit Beacon House so people understand what we can offer them and how they will benefit. People going to Beacon House for the first time will have no idea what happens on the farm so we now send Digging In facilitators there most weeks to talk face to face about the project. This has had a really positive impact and seen more people join in.

Changing Perceptions

As well as changing the lives of the people from Beacon House, this project has changed the perception of homelessness for both the team at Wellies-On and for business people who have visited for networking and volunteering days. This wasn’t in the initial plan but if the lives and opportunities for homeless people are to change on a permanent basis then we need to see change in the whole community.

Darren, a local business man, wrote this after attending a volunteer day.

Before hand I thought it would be easy to give them a break and they will get back on their feet. I didn’t really understand the reality of why they were there or of what was needed to support them. Ignorance is the only thing I can think of…..Wellies-On has changed that perception completely and brought to my attention what is needed.

I saw these guys turn up with their head lowered wondering what we were going to think of them….I saw the same guys leave with their heads held high.

Cooking on an open fire

Each week we are astounded at just what you can cook in one pot over an open fire and each week we can guarantee that everyone will enjoy both the cooking and the food.

Our favourite recipes are

  • Vegetable Chilli with baked potatoes cooked in the fire
  • Sausage casserole
  • Spaghetti Bolognese

We wouldn’t have been able to produce food that is both delicious and nutritious without the regular donations from Bonners Barn and from Beacon House. And of course our own talented cooks Lisa and Donna.

On Wednesday, one third of our available spaces were taken up. We don’t mind if we are working with a small group or a larger one. Some people feel happy in a small group and others prefer a larger one.

A donation of meat meant we were able to make one of our mouth watering Spag Bols for lunch. Our new long handled frying pan made it easy to fry aubergine slices in butter. Seconds were in demand for both the spag bol and the aubergine.

Spades and forks were needed to dig over the new flower beds in the wild life garden.  In the coming weeks some of our co-farmers who have physical limitations that make digging impossible will be planting wild flowers in these beds. This is just one example of how we involve everyone and work as a team.

The farm is a wonderful place to relax in the sun and to mix with others.

A donation of pallets from Paragon Stainless will be used to finish the bootstore, improve the woodstore and other projects around the farm. We are extremely gratefully for this donation.


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