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Care farm facing funding conundrum after CCG contract is not renewed

PUBLISHED: 16:43 18 April 2018

A charity football match is being held to raise funds for Clinks Care Farm. Picture: Archant.

A charity football match is being held to raise funds for Clinks Care Farm. Picture: Archant.

Archant Norfolk © 2015

A plea has been made to protect an innovative mental health treatment scheme, after a decision not to renew its contract left it with a £23,000 funding gap.

Feature at Clinks Care Farm.
Iris Van Zon.Feature at Clinks Care Farm. Iris Van Zon.

Clinks Care Farm, in Toft Monks near Beccles, offers a work experience based programme called ‘farming on prescription’, which has been commissioned by Great Yarmouth and Waveney clinical commissioning group since 2013. However this contract has not been renewed.

One person who made use of the scheme said it had transformed his life.

The 42-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I did farming on prescription after my marriage broke down and I was in a bad place.

“After just 12 weeks I was in a far more positive place - it was almost as though somebody had waved a magic wand over me.

Clinks Care farmer Doeke Dobma has invited a party of  refugees from Suffolk Refugee Support to come and visit the farm and pick his produce.
One of the refugees driving the tractor digging up potatoes.

Picture: James Bass

Clinks Care farmer Doeke Dobma has invited a party of refugees from Suffolk Refugee Support to come and visit the farm and pick his produce. One of the refugees driving the tractor digging up potatoes. Picture: James Bass

“I have since been able to turn my life around and get back into work.”

Iris van Zon who runs Clinks Care Farm, said: “We are disappointed, although I do understand the need to save funds.

“We have had much success working with them in the past and would have loved that to continue, but now we have to look for other sources of funding.”

Despite this, Ms van Zon has ruled out any possibility of the service being discontinued.

She added: “The idea of stopping has never entered my mind, there are very few other places for people to go for this kind of care.”

Graham Elliott, Waveney District Council member for Beccles North, has urged the CCG to reconsider its decision.

He said: “It is a fantastic concept and this relatively small amount of funding would see very significant benefits.”

Rebecca Hulme, chief nurse at the CCG said: “Like all NHS organisations, we routinely review all our spending to ensure all services offer the best possible value and access.

“As a result we have unfortunately been unable to continue to provide funding to Clinks Care Farm as the service is only available to a limited number.

“We appreciate this will be disappointing but have committed to support the organisation whilst individuals complete agreed programmes of care.”

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