Friday, July 27, 2012

William Panter: 8 Weeks at Fordhall [Part One]

The idea of this blog is primarily to get my thoughts and experiences across to the public, but also, I hope this blog encourages more people to get involved in volunteering here. I’d never been here before, and as I don’t come from a farming background (far from it), I was expecting the stereotypical, corn-in-mouth farm I’ve seen on the telly; but I was very wrong. It’s community owned here, which means the ideas of how the farm should be run and should be presented isn’t in the hands of just the minority. As a result of this, what it offers to the community is far more than just cows in a field- it gives the opportunity for voluntary work, it offers organic and local food via the tea room and the farm shop, and it also offers anyone, anywhere, shares to own a little piece of Shropshire land.

But you already know that.

I've already made myself at home
at my own desk!

I’ll give you a little about me. My name is William and I’m 19. I went to school in Market Drayton, did my AS’s in Market Drayton, did my A2’s in Stoke and a Customer Service Apprenticeship in Crewe. After a year of being bored to tears as a jobseeker, I decided to look for more education; and after a lot of looking around, I can finally look forward to starting my university course in September. I enjoy sport, I absolutely adore alternative, rock and metal music and I wouldn’t be anywhere without my girlfriend, family and friends motivating me to go on and do things.

I started at Fordhall on an 8 week placement roughly 2 weeks ago now, and I’ve already learnt a lot about the Community Land Initiative and also the Farm as a whole. My title is ‘Admin Assistant’, but already it feels a lot more than that. I’ve helped input data from paper to PC, and helped with smaller jobs such as dealing with both incoming and outgoing mail. But by far the most rewarding so far, was bringing out my creative side to come up with a fresh poster idea for the upcoming Beer & Music Festival on 1st September. It took a lot of tweaking here and there (just ask Becca!), but the finished article is being printed as I am typing these very words, and if you’re in the area, you’ll see it in different places. If you’re further away, don’t worry; it’s right here anyway. The festival is taking shape now, and for more information, just stay tuned to this page...I’m sure Becca will be blogging all about it soon. Remember to book your tickets!


Fordhall Frog
Another highlight of my time here so far has been helping Beth (Wildlife Officer) organise her upcoming Wildlife Children’s Activities. Her first one was yesterday, River Antics, and I haven’t yet seen her since but I’m assured it went really well. If you have little’uns, and you happen to need something to do on a Thursday at 10am, why not bring them to Fordhall Farm? It’s a different wildlife theme every week, and always bound to keep them entertained. At £2 a child, that’s a bargain!


Come learn about all sorts of wildlife!

So in summary, I have certainly found my time here enriching. It’s opened my eyes to how different Fordhall is, how hard it works for the community, but I’ve also noticed something else, something that’s quite astonishing - people's generosity and support to the farm with all the donations and the share purchases. This farm would not be where it is today without the help of you and I’m sure you’ve all been thanked a million times over, but I would also like to thank you for the experience I’ve had over the last 2 or so weeks.

I will blog again in the next two weeks to let you know of my progress; in the meantime, have a great summer and enjoy London 2012!

1 comment:

Jane from New Zealand! said...


I have Country Living magazines going back to 2002 and I was leafing through my old June 2006 issue. I re-read the article on the project to save the farm and thought I would try and find out how you got on. Well done, you obviously made it and are in good shape for the future! What a success story.
Best wishes
(from New Zealand)