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Evening Meeting With Amanda Mckean, Director Canterbury Festival

30th April 2024
Venue: Cricket Ground

Evening meeting with Amanda McKean, Director, Canterbury Festival.
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Lunchtime Meeting Agm & May Business Meeting

7th May 2024
Venue: Cricket Ground
Lunchtime meeting 12.30pm for 1pm meal Annual General Meeting to be followed by the May Business Meeting.
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Trip to the Salvation Army’s Hadleigh Farm Estate

Several members enjoyed a trip recently to Hadleigh Farm in Essex where they got an insight into how a rare breed centre runs and got a chance to find out about other activities that take place there.

Hadleigh Farm in Essex is a rare breed centre run by the Salvation Army – where young people also receive training in skills needed for future success. The farm is an English Heritage site and, interestingly, is run as a commercial venture.

Here Rotarian David Lewis, who organised the visit to the Hadleigh Farm Estate, gives a quick overview of the trip:

Eleven members of our club and guests gathered together at one member’s house before setting off for the farm in various cars. Once we arrived at the site in Hadleigh – about an hour-and-a-half later – we set off on a half a mile walk along a country path to arrive at the farm’s modern hub cafe. There we were met by the estate manager, Lee Wallings, who welcomed us warmly. Lee kindly looked after us for the rest of the day.

The hub itself is run as large cafe/restaurant which is open 7 days a week. Anyone can make use of its facilities and receive help if needed (it serves as a “warm, welcoming place” in winter); many members of the public also visit the site.

After some time for refreshments and fellowship we all went into a small lounge to listen to a wonderful talk given by Zena, who looks after community work at the farm.

During her talk, Zena gave a synopsis of the Salvation Army’s and the farm’s past. We learnt that the farm has a long history – it’s been serving the community for over 100 years. It was back in 1891 that the Salvation Army bought around 900 acres of farmland in the Essex village of Hadleigh. The Army subsequently developed a special programme to help those in poverty and struggling to make ends meet.

Since that time the farm has also helped people from other parts of the world. For instance, in the 1930s, during the Spanish Civil War, the farm served as a place of refuge to Basque children. Later it helped Jewish refugees fleeing from persecution in Germany/Eastern Europe.

The farm is a now a mixed commercial farm – it has around 600 acres of crops (that include wheat and malt) and 300 acres of grassland. It is committed to “environmental protection and providing training for sustainable living.” It was interesting to hear how the farm is involved with some activities that one might not expect. For instance, it played host to the mountain biking at the 2012 London Olympics!

Zena also spoke about the present-day community work at the farm – helping young people and other groups. We heard how the training and care of people with special needs is also part of the Salvation Army’s work on the farm. This work was inspiring, and questions by our members added to our knowledge and joy of the morning.

Zena’s presentation was followed by an excellent meal – which all of us enjoyed!

Later in the afternoon we walked around the large farm area for rare breeds, which was developed in 2004 to promote conservation and education in relation to rare breeds. There we saw a variety of sheep, goats and white pigs!

All-in-all the members thoroughly enjoyed the day, which was made more pleasurable because the weather was great! As one member put it: “Welcomed warmly by the staff at the Centre, blessed by brilliant sunshine and enjoyable company made for a perfect day out”!

You can learn more about Hadleigh Farm from its website.

Picture: Enthusiastic members pictured during the visit. Picture credit: Mary McGeary/Rotary Club of Canterbury.

 

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