Norfolk County Council grants funding to create more care farms with Clinks

More people from across Norfolk are set to benefit from an innovative project which sees the health of vulnerable people benefitting from a structured programme of farming-related activities on a 'care farm'.

Norfolk County Council will be helping Clinks Care Farm, based in Toft Monks, develop 10 operational care farms in Norfolk and will be investing �30,000 of funding over the next two years, to promote the creation of more care farms in Norfolk,

Norfolk County Council created its first care farm in 2009 when it let Clinks Farm to Doeke and Iris Dobma.

The farm is run as a social enterprise with all its profits being reinvested in the farm, which provides respite breaks and opportunities for people to mix and socialise with others to develop their interests, skills and knowledge.

They also work with NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney and Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust to provide 'farming on prescription', where GPs are able to refer patients to the farm.

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The project was believed to be the first of its kind in the UK and Clinks Care Farm now has a waiting list. There are proposals to extend its opening hours to cater with the demand for its services.

Cliff Jordan, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for efficiency, said: 'The care farm set up on county farm land at Toftmonks is a leading national example of how beneficial structured farming activities can be for people with certain needs.

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'The County Council is keen to see even more care farms set up in Norfolk. Working with Mr Dobma from Clinks Farm we are providing funding to explore how we roll this out and where more care farms can be created, including on further county farm sites.

'Aside from the medical and emotional benefits that people can gain from care farms, they can also significantly increase the number of people employed on a farm, boosting rural employment and prosperity.'

Mr Dobma has received national recognition for his work in rural communities in East Anglia and has promoted the National Care Farm Initiative.

Mr Dobma also submitted a planning application for a 15 metre (49 ft) high wind turbine, which was approved by the South Norfolk District Council Planning Committee.

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