Mayor dons wellies for Wisbech Community Farm
Cambridgeshire’s Mayor Dr Nik Johnson recently donned his wellies and visited Wisbech community farm which has received funding from the Combined Authority’s Market Towns Programme.
People and Animals UK received £225,761 to create a new social enterprise hub at Wisbech Community Farm.
The space will offer room for themed workshops to support a range of local groups, including bringing access to education, mental health, and wellbeing support.
Mayor Dr Johnson said: “This enterprise, its staff and volunteers, are all inspiring and I’m delighted to see how many partners are collaborating to make this a brilliant focus for community transport, education, public health, and wellbeing.
“The Combined Authority I lead is committed to helping market towns like Wisbech, their villages and rural areas to flourish in a changing world. This phase of our ‘Market Towns Programme’ is about boosting the impact of charitable and community enterprises in areas like the Fens where well-targeted investment makes a massive difference.”
The Mayor met staff and volunteers and some of the animals now thriving on what was once a beet field in the Fens.
Katie Bristow, director of operations, People and Animals UK said: “The Mayor was most taken by Betty and Beatrice our KuneKune crossbreed pigs, adopted by a local care farm during the pandemic.
“He also joined staff and volunteers at our community crafting in the barn, and learned about the journey that each of our projects take as we bring people together to design, build, create spaces and services to be proud of, on what was a sugar beet field only 5 years ago!”
Funding for the Wisbech enterprise comes from Phase 2 of the Combined Authority Market Towns Programme, which is committed to sustainable growth within communities, supporting small social enterprises with big impact in rural areas. Back in March, the Combined Authority decided to invest £2.5m into grassroots initiatives like the Wisbech Community Farm.
There are three key programme streams, including supporting community-owned businesses, social enterprise hubs, and STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics - educational roadshows.
The hubs support the growth of social entrepreneurship across market towns and rural areas, providing co-working / business startup space for social enterprises alongside community and retail space for residents and communities.
The Combined Authority appointed delivery partners for each stream and Social Enterprise East of England – SEEE - is responsible for managing Stream 2 – to strengthen local support networks and to establish new Social Enterprise Hubs like the Community Farm at Wisbech, in the area.