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Care farm among six new tenancies for Norfolks County Farms

Norfolk County Council, 6 June 2022 00:00

Norfolk County Council is set to welcome six new tenants to its county farms estate later this year.

Among the new tenants are two families who are joining forces to create a new care farm in west Norfolk. NHS workers Alex and Ed Webster will be working with business owner, farmer and firefighter Ben Human and fitness guru Gemma Human to set up Ingleborough Care Farm.

In total, six new tenants will take on just under 750 acres of county farms land from October this year. This follows a thorough application process that began at the end of last year and concluded with an interview in front of a panel of experts.

Greg Peck, Cabinet Member for Commercial Services and Asset Management at Norfolk County Council said:

"We were really impressed by the quality of the applications and the passion of our new tenants. Norfolk's county farms are an important route for local and often younger farmers to build on their experience and expand their business. It's also encouraging to see another tenant join the growing community of care farms in Norfolk, who are serving some of the county's most vulnerable groups."

The new county farms tenants are:

Alex & Ed Webster and Ben & Gemma Human Ingleborough Care Farm- Mill Road, West Walton (133.43 acres)

Tom Martin and Hannah Heatherington

Mendhams Farm- Hall Road, Outwell (115.92 Acres)

Daniel Voutt
NCC Farm- Manea Fifties, Welney (136.38 Acres)

Jack and Hannah Hoyles
New Road Farm - Middle Drove, Marshland St. James (144.76 Acres)

Sophie and Paul Evans
Willow Farm - Norwich Road, South Burlingham (149.32 Acres)

David Means
Bank Farm Land - Old Roman Bank, Terrington St. Clement (69.58 acres)

Case Study - Alex & Ed Webster and Ben & Gemma Human - Ingleborough Care Farm

Two Families have joined forces to set up Ingleborough Care Farm to help vulnerable people in west Norfolk.

Ed and Alex Webster are originally from Southend in Essex but moved to Norfolk in 2016 to improve the life of their son, Stanley, who has complex needs. Ed is a qualified Paramedic with over 20 years' experience working in the NHS with vulnerable people. Alex has worked as a Registered Nurse in the NHS for 20 years in A&E, palliative care, learning disabilities and safeguarding, and has a master's degree in Learning Disabilities, Autism and Psychology.

The couple have two autistic children and they are keen to use their personal experiences to help them create their own care farm after being inspired by a visit to one in Wales 6 years ago.

Since visiting a care farm, Ed and Alex have always talked about setting one up. When they saw Ingleborough Farm advertised two miles from their home they decided to apply.

The couple have a wealth of experience helping people- but they needed some advice on farming. They sought out the guidance of Ben Human who ran the local farm shop and has a background in agriculture.

Little did they know, Ben was planning to apply for the same farm.

Rather than send in competing applications they decided to take on the project together.
Alex Webster said:

"It was obviously meant to be! When we spoke to Ben, we were just hoping to draw on his farming expertise but here we are a few months down the line with a joint care farm."

Ben Human has been farming since a young age, having worked with his father and uncle on both of their farms. He also owns and runs local businesses with his wife Gemma, including a Farm Shop & Deli in Walpole St Andrew, near Ingleborough Farm itself. Gemma runs her own fitness company alongside her role at the farm shop and will be using her skills to help run the care farm.

Ben also serves at West Walton Fire Station as an on-call Watch Commander, having joined the Fire Service in 2001.

Ben Human said:

"I have always wanted to use my farming skills more and this is a chance to do just that. My career has always combined my love of farming with my work with the community through my time with the fire service. The care farm is a great opportunity to do both."

Their aim is to open Ingleborough Care Farm from 2023 with Ed and Alex set to leave their current employment in the NHS to take on the role full time.

The farm will seek to combine care for land with care for people, using the natural environment to provide a nature-based therapeutic services for vulnerable people. They will serve adults with learning disabilities, autism, neurological disabilities and mental health problems, offering opportunities to learn new skills in agriculture, animal husbandry and horticulture. They will also work with local schools.

Alex added:

"We always wanted a career where our son Stanley can achieve his full potential, using his love for animals and his BTEC in animal care he gained at school. We first visited a care farm in Wales 6 years ago and loved it, so we've been looking for this opportunity ever since.

Our aim is to create a space for people like Stanley who might not otherwise have somewhere to go."

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:43

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