Cash boost for Norfolk charities thanks to Archant initiative

Doeke Dobma of Clinks Care Farm, Toft Monks Picture: Library

Doeke Dobma of Clinks Care Farm, Toft Monks Picture: Library - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2011

Charities across Norfolk have benefited from the 5p bag tax after being awarded £7,400 in grants from the Archant Environmental Fund.

The grants will be split across five charities with the money raised coming as a direct result of the bag tax collected by Archant over the past 12 months.

The charities were chosen by the Norfolk Community Foundation (NCF) who oversee the fund.

Graham Tuttle, of the NCF, said: 'It was a pleasure to work in partnership with and be trusted by Archant.

'These are very good groups doing excellent work for the environment and we hope to help more in the future.'

Clinks Care Farm, in Toft Monks, near Beccles, is one of the largest recipients gaining £1,800.

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Husband and wife duo Doeke Dobma and Iris van Zon launched the charity in May 2010 giving people the chance to help out on the 143 acre farm.

The farm combines the care of the land with the care of people, offering a natural therapeutic environment which can support vulnerable people and aid recovery.

On average 11 people each day visit the farm for the natural therapeutic treatment, these include individuals with mental health issues, learning disabilities, dementia and substance misuse. Former soldiers and victims of brain trauma are also referred to the farm.

Mr Dobma, 55, called the grant 'a wake up call.'

He said: 'We are so busy working on the farm sometimes we forget what we have done. This grant shows an appreciation for what we have achieved.

'Over the years we have seen people come to the farm in a very dark place. We witness in them a change of attitudes and motivation.'

The money the farm received is set to be put to use within a 'matter of weeks'.

The farm plans to purchase beehive equipment that will allow them to make their own honey and involve volunteers in the process.

Mr Dobma said: 'As the grant comes from the environmental aspect of what we do we would like to put it back into that. It's fantastic because we can do what we hoped for.'

Other recipients of the Archant Environmental Fund were:

The Sustainable Living Initiative – £1,000.

The Norwich charity uses gardening and environmental projects to improve the quality of life of individuals and local communities.

The Conservation Volunteers - £1,800

The Norwich base of this national charity aims to involve local people to care and improve the green spaces in their community. The aim is to create healthier and happier communities for everyone.

Mow and Grow - £1,800

This Bowthorpe social enterprise offers training and employment opportunities in garden maintenance for young people and those furthest away from the job market. Individuals are offered the opportunity to improve confidence and motivation within a professional environment.

The Garden Science Trust - £1,000

The trust supports people with learning difficulties or other special needs to develop skills through gardening, science and the environment. Based in Swaffham they help students learn through experimentation and practical participation.

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