OPEN DAY 2017.....................
............was very successful, with dry weather all day, after a rather wet week. It was, however, tremendously windy
and one gust managed to lift and destroy one of our small tents, leaving our Children's Music Entertainer
somewhat exposed ! Happily it remained dry , so he was able to continue al fresco.
The advertised entertainment was excellent, with Magic Bob, our new Children's Entertainer a particularly
favourite attraction. Punch and Judy , Andy's Musical Mayhem and of course The Animal Man
provided all day fun for everyone together with many favourite side stalls, including tombola.
The Birmingham Astronomical Society enjoyed this year's show, with plenty of sunshine which allowed
visitors to look at the Sun through special telescopes.. Attractions also included Face Painting, Bouncy Castle
and a new Bucking bronco ride. Our special Garden Refreshment facility, an ice cream van, bouncy castle, and
buckin' bronco, completed the line-up.
It is estimated that in excess of 1500 attended during the five hours.
Thanks to all who supported us by attending, and of course all the Contributors who worked
hard to ensure such a successful day.
NIELSEN TEAM DAY 11th May 2017
Six keen and fit strong men from Nielsen Holdings plc re-established a ditch which had subsidised through the attentions of our pig Daisy, who likes to roll in the wet and keep cool during the Summer, and dig for roots during the Winter. Although a short section, it was well and truly filled in, and had to be excavated through to a point where it disappears down a culvert pipe.It was a warm day, and strenuous work They also patiently put up with the close attentions of Daisy, who was determined to supervise and make a personal contribution to the work effort.
A very successful result was achieved and our one day miners seemed to enjoy the change and a few hours away from their normal more sedate activities, although it is doubtful they would want to make it a habit!
Many thanks indeed to : Kev, Mike, Mark, Paul, John, and Rory: from Daisy and all of us at the Urban Farm.
We Made A Good Connection With Vodafone
.....on the 17th March when a team of eleven came down to spend a full day helping us
with farm maintenance. Some of the more intrepid braved the depths of our Wildlife Area and removed mountains of brambles and undergrowth to allow light in to help establish smaller ground species of plants e.g. bluebells and also carry out
annual weeding of our orchard display beds.
The remainder of the Team used their skills with paintbrush and pot to apply
wood-treatment to many of our store sheds, barns and poultry housing which
now look as good as new, and are much better protected against the elements.
Many thanks to team leader for the-day Leyla, and the rest of the Team, namely:
Richard, Lucy,Phil,Jayesh,Emma, Rachel,Lindsey, Trevor, Chris and Steven.
Thanks also for the donations of goods for our June 2017 Open Day Tombola Stall
Friday October 14th 2016
A team of nearly twenty enthusiastic employees from the Royal Bank of Scotland
visited us from the Birmingham Office to assist us with a Clearing up for Winter day
at the Farm. They were all from the mortgage section and very much enjoyed their
escape into the open air away from their computers. As always these events are
very dependant upon dry weather, and the heavens were kind.
The Team completely re-creosoted the farm administrative and storage buildings
in the Farmyard area as well as weeding the yard itself; tackled the perennial weeds
and refurbished the garden beds in the Orchard,and made a successful foray into
the depths of the Wildlife Area where they cleared pathways and cut down overgrowth,
with one keen member creating several yards of border fencing from available
coppiced branch growth.
A good day was had by all, and our Charitable project enjoyed some essential maintenance.
Many thanks to: Steve (Team Leader) and all the Team!
The Animal Man School Holiday Visit
The special visit from The Animal Man was quite remarkable with an estimated 750 or more adults and children
flooding through the gates in a frantic three hour period. Before we opened, the queue was along the path right
into the car park. Unusual livestock on display included exotic mammals, spiders, and reptiles.
In addition we were pleased to enjoy the support of the Trekking Centre, with the afternoon enhanced by the
provision of supervised Pony Rides which were very well received by the visitors.
Overall the income generated assisted greatly in making up for the lack of income on our Open Day.
Next year's Open Day is on Sunday 11th June, when The Animal Man is also next due to appear.
OPEN DAY 2016 NEWS
Sunday 5th June was dry, hot and sunny. However all the finger crossing in the world did not work for this to continue because our Open Day on the 12th was far from dry. It rained on and off all day, although it stopped for about 90 minutes around midday. The effect on visitors was understandably quite dramatic and the total was in the region of 400 adults and children. On a sunny day we have recorded as many as 2,250 so quite a difference. However many thanks indeed for the support given by those who attended, braved the elements, and enjoyed the full programme of events ,stalls and activities which went ahead as planned - a little damp- but enthusiastically. One example was The Birmingham Astronomical Society Stall members who all showed great enthusiasm and fortitude with their special telescopes brought for visitors to study the Sun, which showed itself for just about three minutes all day ! (One of the pictures below captures those precious seconds) Many thanks to
each and every one of our supporters, volunteers and stallholders for their good humour and hard work.
Financially, we were concerned that an event which is staged for the local community but which also aims to raise funds to feed our animals and assist in keeping the Charity solvent, was going to actually show a loss - which is not quite the idea ! However, at the end of the day the balance sheet showed that the cost of staging the Day (tentage, entertainers,refreshments etc) was £1,000.00 whilst the takings amounted to £1077.76 (i.e. just £77.76 in the black). If we had been able to find a Sponsor then the figure would have looked a lot better and we will look hard for someone to Sponsor the Open Day next year to cover the costs elements (Our Treasurer just whispered to me...."any offers ?") We would especially like to thank a number of people who assisted us to keep on the right side of financial loss by offering some reduction on their usual charges or making a 'wet weather' donation.
Here are some pictures of the Day being enjoyed by those who defied the weather:
AT LAST OUR NEW SHEEP FLOCK HAS ARRIVED !!
We took charge of our new flock of eight sheep at the end of November. Given the ground conditions this was an accomplishment in itself because it was impossible to drive a vehicle across the waterlogged ground to the sheep paddock at the far side of the Farm. Anyone watching would have been greatly entertained by the sight of the sheep being transported one at a time on a small pull truck, held down to stop them jumping off. Halfway through the process a wheel literally came of the truck and we all collapsed into the mud ! Having got them successfully into their new field and safely tucked up in their sheep shed, we all retired to relieve our aching muscles.As any City farmer will know, manhandling a sheep who does not wish to cooperate , is not for the faint-hearted. Given that early trauma, however, the sheep very quickly settled into their new home, and are now calm and happy and tucking away at their hay rations.
The sheep are a mixture of pure breed and hybrid. There are two pure breed Badger Faced, two Badger Faced x Manx Loughtan, two pure breed Wiltshire Horn, two Black Welsh Mountain X and two Badger Faced X Herdwick X Manx double crossed. This is quite a mixture, but gives a lovely colour range and effect when viewed . They were purchased from a smallholder in Inkberrow in Worcestershire.
Go back to the Home Page and click onto our FACEBOOK page for a picture
THE CHALLENGE NETWORK (National Citizens Service)
(Young People) (2015)
The Challenge Network is a national charity which exists to connect and inspire people of all ages to strengthen their communities within a variety of programmes , and part of the National Citizens Service section is organised specifically to bring together young people from different backgrounds to bond them and inspire them to take on a more active role in their communities. Each Summer groups of youngsters ages around 16/17 years of age are involved in expeditions, fundraising, community work and other activities which seek to fulfill this. For many years now we have been pleased to cooperate with the 'Team Day in the Community' aspect of this annual programme and this year has been as successful as before.
The 2015 team of six young people and their mentor carried out tasks at the Urban Farm on Sunday.......including wheelbarrowing a large quantity of pebbles from a central point to complete a drainage surround area to one of our duck ponds, and also some much needed weeding in the main farmyard area. It was a fine dry day, and the Team not only successfully completed the tasks set out for them but seemed to enjoy themselves in the process. They worked hard, worked well, and there were some laughs along the way.
Very many thanks to each one of them. A photo-shoot of the day is below.
Santander Team Day
Wednesday 29th July 2015
One of Santander's aims is to "Making a Difference in the Community" and they certainly did that during their recent visit to the Farm.
A group of twelve employees from one of their financing sections carried out woodland clearance in our wildlife area, and plant- bed weeding in the orchard on what happily turned out to be a fine dry day. Excellent results were achieved, and pathways restored which had grown over quite literally like a tropical jungle.
The Team were drawn from all over Central England and Wales for the day, one travelling from Cardiff in the west and another from the East Midlands in addition to more local employees from the Birmingham Conurbation. It was a sterling effort which has enhanced the Project and is very much appreciated by our Trustees.
So here are many thanks from all our Trustees, visitors and users to: Vijay,Mike, Zena,Rob,Adrian,Kevin,Tony, Steve,Ian,Jen,Bill, and Nigel
Well done Team Santander!
The Challenge Saturday 6th September 2014
For the third year running, we enjoyed the good company and energy of a group of ten (6th Form) young people under The Challenge Summer scheme, who carried out some beneficial work for us shifting almost two tons of pebbles to fill in around our duck ponds in the front paddock and they are doing some fundraising for us later in the month. During the holidays, as part of the programme, they had already completed orienteering and camping and other activities. All this will move towards a graduation ceremony and presentation of their Challenge Certificates in due course.
Very many thanks to all concerned, namely : Chloe (Baverstock), Maarij (King Edward VI Five Ways),Husna (South & City College),Ahmed (Metropolitan College), Kashf (King Edward VI Camp Hill Girls), Jack G. (King Edward VI Camp Hill Boys), Michael (Wheelers Lane), Jack A. (Royal Leamington Spa College), Khudar (Cadbury College), and Anika (Metropolitan College) Thanks also to Freya the Mentor who assisted in supervision and guidance on the day. (Photos may follow) (Please visit The Challenge Website for further information on the Programme)
July 24th Npower Team Day
The Team successfully refurbished our original duckpond in spite of an overnight setback and a very very hot day with temperatures of around 30c in the full sun. We had waited months for the pond area to dry out completely so it could be worked on, and dry as a bone it was until the night before when the hosepipe got accidentally left on and when the team arrived it was full to the brim again ! Happily a very positive attitude, and a ten person group of bailing out buckets saved the day. The new rigid pond was dug into position and jumbo bags of stone and soil barrowed many yards and infilled around the edge. Some of the Team also completed some very competent slabbing in front of a Goose- house.Much water and many cold drinks were consumed to keep up worker hydration.
All in all this was a super day with a long awaited improvement taking place.
Many thanks to Team leader James, plus Tim, Manveer, Pardeep, Gavin, Cheryl, Vicki, Latisha, Steve and Nicola.
Npower Team Day May 29th 2014
Another successful nPower team helped us with their paintbrushes and enthusiasm by wood-treating the Project's Hay and straw store, the main Hen House, and the Bazaar unit, and also worked hard weeding and tidying up borders and pathways ready for our Open Day ten days later. The weather, which was indifferent very early in the day and looked like it might rain (and which always makes wood treatment difficult) decided to be kind to us and turned out dry after all.
The members of the Team, again from the Dudley Offices, enjoyed their day in the open air and we now have three smartly repainted buildings heading into the Summer season and a much tidier site overall. Many thanks to all eleven employees concerned.
Npower Team Day 27th March 2014
A group of keen employees from Npower did us proud one day in March when they repainted the whole of the interior of the volunteer and staff Messroom. This was much needed, and has been admired by all those who use the room - light airy and clean again! As a bonus the lobby area of the Farm's Classroom Unit also enjoyed a decorating makeover.
A warm thank you to all those who took part and for the really generous cash donation from them and other colleagues at the Dudley Base which will assist our animal feeding costs.
SUNDAY 8th SEPTEMBER
We were pleased to host the above successful event which was staged on our behalf by young people participating in The Challenge. The freshly crushed apple juice, from fruit picked minutes before in our own Orchard, together with home made cakes and hot drinks, proved very popular with the many visitors .Many thanks from the Trustees of the Farm to the young people who contributed to this event and raised valuable funds for our Charity.
OPEN DAY 2013
Sunday June 9th
We were fortunate again this year, with a fine, dry and sunny day which was very well attended by 1,288 people who enjoyed a range of entertainment and a variety of stalls and other attractions including: Loony Lenny(Fun and Magic) Kris Krendo (Punch & Judy and also a Magic show), Andy and his Kiddies Musical Workshop, the Animal Man with a range of snakes, lizards, spiders and mammals, and new for this year Woody's One Man Band who mingled throughout the day with our happy visitors.
Stalls included our resident Beekeepers, Bric a Brac, Fancy Goods, Big Prize Tombola, Teddy Bear Tombola, Face Painting
and Sparkly Tattoos, our resident Farm Bazaar, Kate's Reiki, super Plant Stall and other stalls by Rebecca, Jenny and Denise, Winterbourne Botanical Garden (B'ham University) and Fircroft College. The Bouncy Castle was in constant use throughout the day. The Refreshment facility provided the ever popular range of home made cakes, sponges, and snacks together with refreshing hot and cold drinks, and Simon's Ice Cream was also on hand.
The Charity raised much needed funds, and the visitors enjoyed a day out to remember.
Thanks go to all Contributors , Friends, Volunteers and Trustees,who came together to make the Day possible
OPEN DAY & 25th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION 2012
This year the Open Day (our 21st) was again sponsored by Ernst & Young and went ahead in excellent dry, sunny weather, a welcome relief after the total washout last year. It was a special event this year marking twenty five years of our Community Farm operating on site at Woodgate.
Visitors came steadily throughout the five hours of the fun day, and enjoyed family entertainment including the ever popular
Loony Lenny with his zany fun and magic, two Punch and Judy Shows by Kris Krendo, Andy and his musical workshop for youngsters to join in with a range of simple musical instruments, and a musical interlude provided by our guest Accordianists . As always the Bouncy Castle was enjoyed by dozens of children all day.
There was a range of stalls including Tombola (top prize a month's free subscription courtesy of Harborne
Pool & Fitness Centre), Denise's Community Stall, John Sturman Ltd with a selection of poultry and livestock feeds,
our Honorary Beekeepers Rob and Dave with information and activities, Bournville Garden Centre (info and plants), Winterbourne House and Botanical Garden (B'ham University), Linda's & George's Stall, Hearts & Crafts, our own Plant Stall, the Farm Bazaar and a Reiki facility to relax the tensions.
We were also pleased to host Bristol Street Motors who brought along Ford's three new environmentally friendly small cars. As always we were grateful to the Wyre Forest Ambulance Service who provided not only full emergency cover, but also displayed their vehicle and equipment.
Our well regarded Refreshment facility did a roaring trade with a selection of hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, sponges and all manner of fancy home made cakes and biscuits.
It was a satisfying day, and we hope that all our visitors enjoyed it as much as we did .Grateful thanks to our small
army of volunteers who assisted in delivering another special day for our local community.
We have already booked some new attractions for next year's Open Day which is on the 9th June 2013.
Farm Open Day 2011
The weather was not kind to us for the Open Day and true to the forecast we had rain from 8am and torrential rain from about 11 am when the event would have started, until early evening. We had to cut our losses on marquee costs and the cost of entertainers, and to save our army of stallholders from a wasted journey , so a decision had to be made early in the day, at about 7.55 am in fact, to cancel, It turned out to be the correct call.
It is the first time in 20 years of Open Days we have cancelled in this way, so guess that we have done pretty well. Many callers have asked if we are going to re-schedule it this year, but organisation of such an event takes months, and we are actually starting to book entertainers and marquees for next year now ! Unfortunately the answer is no, although we might run a one off event in September on a much smaller scale based on a Halloween sale. If we do, this will be advertised on-line.
Meanwhile a big thank you to all our volunteers, stallholders and suppliers who had set the time aside and prepared to support this years Open Day , and to those visitors who would otherwise have attended.
On a more positive note, next years Open Day is on Sunday 10th. June 2012. And it had better be fine!!
Super Sponsored Walk
Setting Off On The Walk
The friends and users of the Cowboys and Angels Childminding Services did us proud with a sponsored walk around the Park during the Autumn half - term holiday raising a creditable £381 for our farm charity. Grateful thanks to Sarah Simpson for her hard work in organising the event, and everyone who walked, and/or donated. The proceeds will all go towards animal care and feeding.
OPEN DAY 2010 13th June
Our 19th Annual Open Day (Supported For Operating Costs by Ernst & Young) once again enjoyed dry sunny weather and for the first time we counted the number of visitors rather than making an estimate. We entertained an amazing 1,127 people ! Those who attended enjoyed up to five hours of family fun including Loony Lenny, the childrens' entertainer and two excellent Punch and Judy Shows by Kris Krendo.
The main marquees housed a record number of stalls including; both a general Tombola (top prize a meal for two in The Mailbox ) and a bottle Tombola , cakes and home made lemonade, greetings cards, silk flower arrangements, balloons and fancy goods, home made preserves, Sturmans Ltd - our local animal feedstuffs supplier, a local community stall, OPAL nature on your doorstep stand, the Woodgate Valley and Bartley Green History Group, a comprehensive plant and general bargains stall and last but not least an educational stand by our resident honorary beekeepers with information about beekeeping and fun activities for the youngsters.
Of course there was the ever popular non-stop bouncy castle, and in another marquee an all day Childrens' Workshop where Andy & Jan Casserly helped dozens of youngsters to create music on a variety of percussion and other instruments. The refreshment facility with a choice of cakes and slices of gateaux, snacks and warm and cold drinks, did a roaring trade. For those with any pocket money remaining there was always the permanent on site Bazaar to dip into for toys, bric a brac and books. The event was supported by the Wyre Forest Lifeline Ambulance which also provided a first aid service. This was all set off with the melodious sounds of the Accordian Ensemble, who gave three performances during the afternoon. Many thanks to all our volunteers, supporters, visitors and contributors, without whom the event could not have been so successful.
Reiki for Animals: An Exploration
Saturday 23rd October 2010 (10.30 am - 4.30 pm) with Reiki Master Kate Jones. Following the success of the Reiki day at Woodgate last August, we are pleased to offer another opportunity this year. If you have learned Reiki and would like to know more about helping our animal friends with Reiki this workshop is for you!.With a variety of animals to practice with, Woodgate Valley Urban Farm is the ideal place for this exploration. We hope to be able to treat rabbits, hens and goats.
The Course will be led by Reiki Master Kate Jones, who has been teaching Reiki for over 18 years and has a special interest in helping animals with Reiki techniques. For details go to The Reiki Dojo
Much valued support from the Partnership continued into a fourth year when a team of fifteen keen employees gathered at the Farm on 25th June and did some sterling work in the front paddock, completing an area of paving around the central gateway, laying hardcore around the new Hay and Straw Store, and sprucing up two of our brick former stable units with a smart coat of white masonry paint. The weather was dry (a bonus because on their last visit it poured with rain) and the whole team seemed to enjoy the experience. We have certainly gained much needed improvemnts to the main visitor areas of the Project. Many thanks for their hard work and good company.
CADBURY'S BUTTONS FUN ON THE FARM EVENT A SWEET SUCCESS!
The Cadbury Fun Event hosted by the Urban Farm on Bank Holiday Monday 25th May, 2009 and Tuesday 26th May, 2009 was a sell out occasion. Although it was a free event, it was all ticket, and all tickets were issued.
Almost 1,800 people attended across the two days and enjoyed an extravaganza of entertainment and hands on activity.
Puppet shows, karaoke, arts and crafts, colouring, biscuit making, story telling, face painting,and a commando style adventure climbing zone were among the activities available to families all day long, and the site was visited by lifesize animals who posed for pictures with visitors including a penguin, pig, panda monkey and a wise owl. Hungry and thirsty visitors were tempted with a mouth watering selection of barbecue dishes and salad, and a variety of warm and cold drinks.
Everyone went away with a complimentary souvenir photograph, and a goody bag containing amongst other things a colouring book, an animal mask and of course a bag of Cadbury's Buttons!
A spokesman for Cake Entertainment, who produced the Show on behalf of Cadbury's said : "This has exceeded all our expectations in terms of visitor numbers. Your community has turned out in force to support this event which has been a great success"
A Trustee for the Urban Farm said : " Hosting this free event for the local community has been a pleasure and it was wonderful to see so many families having the opportunity of enjoying a free day out in these difficult financial times"
The" Buttons Fun On The Farm" Roadshow moved on to other Member City/Urban Farms within the Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens Movement for various dates throughout May and June in London,Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Middlesbrough, Gateshead, Bath, and Leicester.
For further information and pictures of the two day event in Birmingham at Woodgate Valley Urban Farm, and pictures of the event at other City Farms, visit www.buttonsfunonthefarm.co.uk
New School Information Pack
Our long awaited schools information pack aimed at primary age children is now fully in use. This piece of important work was done in partnership and funded by Ashley's Ark; a charity set up in memory of Ashley Sammons a teenager from Norfolk who loved animals. The information pack is available as part of booked
school visits, or at a modest charge to visitors. To find out more about Ashley's Ark please visit: www.ashleysark.org
To book a school or play scheme visit, please email
SANTANDER SMARTEN UP FOR OUR BIG DAY
On Thursday 25th May 2017 were pleased to welcome a team of ten employees from various Santander High Street Branches in the West Midlands for a very useful team day tidying and sprucing up the Project ready for our annual Open Day on the 11th June.
One group got stuck into the copious weeds growing in the main yard and garden areas and the other tackled the job of applying wood treatment to the ferret house and several of our large animal sheds which house variously, the cattle, the sheep, the goats. After a very hard day's work, the yard looks really tidy again, and the buildings smart and looked after. Such activity is always so dependant upon good weather, and happily the rather damp day originally forecast turned out, in the event, to be dry and warm.
Thanks for all your hard work to: Sat and Sonny (Kings Heath), Paige and Peter (Harborne), Claire (Stourbridge), Donna and Andrew (Dudley), Abigale and John (Solihull) and Charlie (Union Street, Birmingham)
On Thursday ...we had an important set of visitors at the Farm, namely a work team from Nielsen, the international marketing company. A group of fourteen staff of the Company from Birmingham and other parts of the UK joined together at the Urban Farm to assist in a general 'clean up' in preparation for our Open Day on Sunday 12th June 2106.
The Company's slogan for community input via team days is to "make a difference" and they certainly achieved that. The weather was fine, the team were enthusiastic, and the planned work was fully achieved. Buildings and animal sheds were given a good coat of wood treatment, the farmyard was cleared of weeds and overgrowth, and our picnic tables were given a smart lick of preservative leaving them looking like new, By late afternoon a very big difference had occurred!
Many thanks to the Team, namely: Gemma, Anna, Frazer, Paul (Team leader), Matt W., Matt H., Kate, Helen, Derek, Nick, Marika, Jonathan, Robert and Mir.
Pictures of the Team in action...........
The Wagstaff Carpentry Consultants!
A small but expert group of staff from Wagstaff Interiors Group (based at Honiley in Warwickshire) carried out
some sorely needed repairs to our Goat, Cow and Sheep sheds on Monday 2nd November 2015. What they packed into half a day was amazing, and all of the sheds enjoyed significant refurbishment with new heavy duty cladding sheets to several sides of the buildings.
No doubt the very early start assisted, together with some careful planning before the day itself, with everyone knowing their part in the logistics of the task. As the work progressed, there was much interest from the livestock themselves, particularly by the Goats, who always manage to stand and supervise very effectively on occasion like this.
So..... many thanks to Wagstaff Interiors as a firm, and especially to the employees concerned for their hard work, good company and commitment: Ken, Matt and Daniel.
ALLIANZ Team Day (2015)
Allianz is an Insurance and Asset Management Company which operates all over Europe from an H.Q in Munich. When the Company arranged for a Team Day with us on Tuesday.September 29th they not only facilitated two very useful tasks at the Urban Farm, but also showed their keenness to involve as wide a range of their employees in the UK as possible with twelve participants travelling from far and wide in both England and Scotland..
A very competent Team they were too carrying out two discrete tasks with one contingent re-decorating the inside of our Classroom/Party/Meetings Unit and another slabbing a some new areas within one of the paddocks to support new poultry housing. A lot of innate DIY skills were shown because there was hardly a splash of emulsion on the Unit floor - and the perfect plumb level of the slabbing would do a professional landscaper credit . Just shows what a day out from in front of the Computer can bring out ! The initiative was also supported with expenses/donation to our Charity which is much appreciated.
So, very many thanks for a sterling effort by everyone working so hard that day , namely: Niki and Matt from Manchester, Gillian from Glasgow, Sarah and Nick from Surrey, Gareth and Nicola from Bristol, Alex and Sarah from Milton Keynes, Emily from Guildford, Neil from Carlisle, and another Nick from "just up the road " in Rugby! Also thanks to Allianz (GB) for the overall support.
OPEN DAY 2015
Sunday 14th June
Given that June was a cold and sometimes wet month, we were again fortunate to enjoy good weather for this, our 26th annual Open Day. All week the forecast had been for a cold wind and heavily overcast skies, but the day dawned sunny, dry and quite fair, and remained so all day.We were very grateful!
The entertainment was continuous all day, starting with a two hour session from The Animal Man, when dozens of youngsters got up close and friendly with a range of exotic animals and reptiles , followed by Loony Lenny who provided his unique brand of fun, magic and mayhem, and then Kris Krendo staged his super Punch & Judy Show, followed later with his own comedy and magic show. Andy Casserley was on hand all day in his gazebo stacked with musical instruments (woodwind, string and percussion) to introduce and encourage countless youngsters to create musical sounds for themselves.
There was a greater range of stalls and sideshows this year, and we newly welcomed the Lapal Pioneers who staged a sweet tombola and a catch a duck stall, and The Stonehouse Gang who set up a recruiting and information table. Other stalls included our own Super Tombola with top prizes including a meal out for two, a teddy bear tombola, two bric a brac stalls, John Sturmans Seed and Pet Supplies (Blackheath), Pink Faces (face painting), a Beekeepers stall and demonstration , Reike Master - Kate Jones, Urban Farm plant stall,and new this year - Ken and his hanging basket demonstrations . Ongoing amusement for the kiddies was also available in the form of a Bouncy castle, and there was an all-day ice cream van , together with our own ever popular Refreshment Rooms in the Unit serving home made cakes, sandwiches, crisps and other snacks, and both hot and cold drinks. Two of our Trustees also set up a stall to encourage applications from Volunteers to the Urban Farm Project. Information leaflets were available for Winterbourne House & Garden and also Fircroft College.
We logged well in excess of 1,000 visitors overall who enjoyed the attractions and entertainment on offer. On a rather sad farewell note, Loony Lenny (aka John Price) retires in July and will not be performing again. He has loyally supported our Open Day for almost twenty years and made hundreds of our young visitors laugh over that time. We shall miss his super act and good company, but wish him well in his retirement. Thanks John ! Woody's One Man Band sent apologies because he was unable to attend due to illness, and we wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him next year. Last but by no means least many many thanks to all those who contributed to the staging and content of this Open Day which was financially one of our most successful in terms of our much needed funds. A super effort!
(N.B. Go to our Links page for easy contact to some of the above)
12th March 2015 Npower Team Day
The first team day of the new year welcomed an enthusiastic group of eleven employees, tasked with erecting a pair of new agricultural gates and some extra side fencing at two strategic points of the Farm Project. It was not only the technicalities of hanging the gates themselves, but digging the holes for the posts which can be fraught with all kinds of hidden dangers like suddenly hitting a large rock, or a tree root! And anyone who has done this also knows that it is easier to say "dig a two foot deep hole" than to actually achieve it. Well luck was on our Team's side because, happily, the hole diggings were free from hidden obstacles, and at the end of a day of good dry weather, the tasks were completed without any serious snags. As a result we now have a better managed entry and exit system at the Farm entrance, and have also changed the goat and sheep grazing paddocks access for the better.
Many thanks to the following employees of Npower (Dudley) for their hard work, enthusiasm, and good company: Rebecca (Team leader) , Steve, Kieran, Lewis, Sunny, Gary, Harry, Josh, Michael , Sanj, and Sarah
WELCOME TO OUR NEW HERD OF DEXTER COWS
We were pleased to receive our three new Dexter heifers on 22nd August 2014 from Church Farm, Preston Bagot, near Henley In Arden. Many thanks to Mr & Mrs Bancroft for supplying us with their livestock. The pedigree Family name for the cows is Moonshine, and their names are : SILVA , MARY and MIKI. The first two are short legged and Miki is a medium legged Dexter.
Dexter cattle are the smallest beef breed in the UK so we have completely turned the size tables from the late Belle, and Fifi, who were Limousin, and are one of the biggest beef cattle breeds ! There are two colours in this breed, brown and black and as can be seen in our picture, ours are pure black. (NB This picture was taken at Preston Bagot before delivery and shows four)
They took time to settle in and skulked about in the hedge right at the top of the paddock for several days. However it did not take them long to realize they were on to a good thing coming to Woodgate instead of going for steaks and are now being cheeky, chasing the volunteers, and enjoying the ample paddock grass which has grown and lush and long since Belle died in the Spring. May they enjoy a long happy life with us.
OPEN DAY 2014
Sunday 8th June 2014
This was a successful day, despite the heavy rains in the week leading up to the event, which caused water-logging to return to the low areas of the site. Our tent supplier's van got stuck in the mud and had to be pulled free, and some areas were a little wet underfoot for the visitors, but overall this was compensated for by a warm, dry sunny day on the day itself. Following the Open Day we enjoyed two weeks of hot dry weather, so all is now well again leading up to the Summer Holiday season.
The Day went well with just under 1,000 visitors who enjoyed the entertainment: Loony Lenny, The Animal Man, Kris Krendo's Punch and Judy Show and also his magic Show, Woody's One Man Band, Andy's Childrens' Music Workshop and eleven stalls providing plants, tombola ,bric a brac, general goods, petfood supplies,bazaar goods, Reiki, etc. This year our resident beekeepers joined forces with the Birmingham Beekeepers Association Branch to provide an observation display hive with a Queen bee and all her workers which provided much interest. It was unfortunate that our supplier was unable to bring the advertised Bouncy Castle, which had been accidentally damaged by another hirer just the day before (apologies to those expecting this attraction but it could not be helped) As always, the home made cakes, snacks and liquid refreshments in the farm classroom unit were well received.
A grateful thanks to all those in the local community who supported the Day, both as stallholders and visitors, and to the entertainers. A particular thanks to Dean, our marquee supplier who always works hard to erect the tentage from 0730 hours on the day and then dismantle and pack away at the end, with the unexpected complication of the difficult ground conditions this year.
Photographs to follow; meanwhile photographs of the Open Day are already available on our Facebook page - www.facebook.com/woodgatevalleyurbanfarm
Belle 1989 - 2014
We are sad to record that BELLE our (French) Limousin Beef Cow , suddenly went off her legs and died on 13th March 2014. She was in her 25th year, and had outlived her calf FIFI by some six years. The pair came to us at Woodgate from a poor upland farm near Leek in Derbyshire where Belle was being used as a suckling cow for a herd of dairy cattle. For economical reasons she was due to be sold to Market for slaughter along with her calf, before we came along. The rest is a happy history with them both living out their natural lives to the full with us at the Urban Farm and providing many years of interest and enjoyment to visitors, staff and placement alike.
nPower Team Day at The Farm
Thursday 19th July 2013
Thirteen keen employees from the Dudley Office attended a Team Work Day to clear overgrowth from the paths in the Wildlife Area which had reached jungle-like proportions after the wet Winter and Spring. Given our usual cool showery weather, this might not have been too onerous, but in the event a hot day with temperatures of around 28 degrees, this was a real challenge! But what a successful day it was, with beds in the orchard also being cleared and weeded. Plenty of cold drinks and a good lunch break kept the Team the right side of exhaustion, and the targets set for the day were exceeded. Many thanks to everyone involved.
Ernst & Young (Company Community Partnership) 2012
We are pleased to report that Ernst & Young LLP have decided that following their sponsorship in 2010 and 2011 they will sponsor us for a third full year from January until December 2012. Our Trustees and grateful for this continuing partnership which achieves active on-site Team Days for their employees as well as valuable financial assistance and ongoing cooperation.
Here are some team photos from the current 2012 Team Days:
...for more see the E & Young 3 year Photo-Gallery
- The first was on 26th March when five employees created and planted a new feature shrub area in the Orchard to screen the beehives and also refurbished and tidied two other beds. They did a wonderful job bearing in mind the very wet Spring we had and the fact that part of the work area was seriously waterlogged
- The second and third were on 6th and 13th May when larger teams of ten employees carried out some valuable work in another part of the Orchard to create paved and loose stone pathways around three raised beds which had been created by Volunteers on the CNSW Programme. This was really heavy work involving transporting a succession of barrowloads of sand and stone chippings from hundreds of yards away, and laying slabs. None of the Team had laid slabs before, and some were strangers to pushing a barrow, but when they went home that night most of them were experts!
|Second Team||Third Team|
- The fourth Team visited on 30th July and completed the slabbing and stone chipping to great effect, after some running repairs to the wooden edges of one of the beds, and also weeded and refurbished the plantings. Not one on the Team had slabbed before, yet one run of paving has all the hallmarks of a billiard table. Well done Team!
- On 19th August a fifth Team carried out a variety of tasks including weeding and edging the new bed created by the first Team back in March, topping up stone chipping on the new paths after initial sinkage, and cutting their way through into our wildlife area where the Spring rains had managed to create an almost inpenetrable jungle of growth of brambles and long grass to mask the main entrance. However, the crowning job of the day was the creation of a double dug bed (with much sweat and effort) and the planting of a Walnut Tree to permanently commemorate Ernst & Young's support dur ing the 2010 year. An adjacent picture shows the proud team at the end of their day's labours.
- Two of the Urban Farm Trustees were invited to attend the Ernst & Young 'Town Hall Day' along with other organisations in partnership, on 30th April to display a stall showing the Charities activities. This was an enjoyable early morning activity, complicated only by the fact that it was held in the Holte Suite at the Aston Villa Ground and one of the Trustees had to wear a bag over his head in case any fellow Bluenose spotted him!
- In addition, employes of Ernst and Young have been busy collecting and donating monies via 'dress down days' and other Head office initiatives and activities, and E & Y as a Company have already made a generous matched donation. Funding also met the full £850 cost of staging the Open Day.
Have a look at some more photos of the Team days!