Shropshire Star

Volunteers celebrated for their 'invaluable' contributions to life at Fordhall Organic Farm

A community-owned farm in North Shropshire has celebrated the contributions of its voluntary workforce at an annual awards ceremony.

Volunteers at Fordhall Farm. Photo: Oliver Allan

The team at Fordhall Organic Farm held its volunteer awards event and Christmas party on Friday.

Its aim is to highlight the 'invaluable' work of volunteers for helping with the day-to-day upkeep of the farm, as well as conservation work, maintenance and event support.

The farm's long-standing volunteer programme welcomes volunteers, both old and new, from across the UK and abroad.

Volunteers at Fordhall benefit socially by working with like-minded individuals and through the connection to nature which has a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Julie Cooper, who volunteers at Fordhall shared her thoughts on volunteering and said: “It’s brilliant here, I wanted to be an active part of Fordhall again and volunteering suited my life as it is now.

"You’re doing a useful job contributing, you're outdoors so the there’s an immediate connection with nature and it’s often physical work which means the feel-good hormones from being active make you feel great.”

Fordhall Organic Farm is England's first community-owned farm, which has been organic for more than 65 years.

It pioneered organic farming after the Second World War, led by the late Arthur Hollins and was saved from development in 2006 by his children Ben and Charlotte.

Charlotte Hollins, Fordhall Community Land Initiative general manager, said: "From tree planting, to fence building, to even paperwork filing, the volunteers really do keep this place running.

"Their contribution is invaluable, and we cannot thank them enough for selflessly giving their time to the farm.

"We hope this celebration shows them how valued they really are, and of course congratulations to this year’s award winners.

"We are pleased to announce they are: Julie Cooper (Chris Tither Award), Sue Walker (Office Aficionado of the Year), Jackie Jones (Volunteer Newcomer of the Year) Dominic Pinto (Trailblazer of the Year), and Dan Bridgewater (Volunteer of the Year for Engineering Genius).

"There is no experience needed to join our volunteering programme, so if you are interested please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

"We would be more than happy to welcome you to the Fordhall family."

For more information about Fordhall’s volunteering opportunities and placements, and a volunteer overview pack, contact