Bridge Community Farms, the Ellesmere Port-based charity which works with the unemployed and those suffering from mental health conditions and life-long learning disabilities, has taken over the running of the Veg Box scheme developed by The Natural Veg Men.
The take over means that seasonal veg boxes are now available for delivery every Tuesday across West Cheshire, Chester and the Wirral.
Matt Smee of The Natural Veg Men said “After more than 200 weeks of deliveries and over 22,000 veg boxes we are handing over the running of our Veg Box scheme to the fantastic Bridge Community Farms.
“We were keen to work with them because they have such a fantastic impact on their local community and the team running the farm are absolutely brilliant.
“We’ll be on hand to help with the smooth transition of the veg box scheme over the next few months and are helping them make their growth plans for the year ahead.
Smee, who started The Natural Veg Men with two Chester University friends, continued: “We’re really looking forward to seeing them develop the veg box offering and continue to provide the best produce in the North West as well as creating further impact in their community.”
Clair Johnson, Farm & Wellness Manager said: “We are delighted to have taken on the hugely successful Veg Box scheme founded by Matt and Tom.
“When people buy their vegetables from us they are not only supporting a great local charity and community farm, they are also supporting sustainable farming practices that protect wildlife, care for the soil and work in harmony with the nature around us.”
The social enterprise, based on Mill Lane in Ellesmere Port, is a working horticultural farm with organic principles which first began operating in 2014.
The charity’s main purpose is to provide a therapeutic environment for people suffering from a range of mental health conditions, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as those with mental and physical learning disabilities.
They also create permanent and sustainable jobs for the long-term unemployed by growing and selling fruit, vegetables, salads and herbs to the local community.
Since opening, the charity has worked with hundreds of people of all ages, from school children with severe behaviour problems, CCGs and GPs engaged in social prescribing, social services and the long-term unemployed – helping them through what are often extremely difficult times.
They also work with local charitable Trusts and Foundations, as well as businesses with a social conscience.
PHOTO: (Left to right) Tom Whitley, Francis Ball, Clair Johnson and Matt Smee