"I saw something pop up on Facebook early last year and signed up to volunteer with the Land Army at Woodbank. It was a number of months before I was able to attend my first one but once I did I was hooked. I volunteered with the Land Army almost every other weekend and sometimes during the week after that. After talking to Chris and Helen about the future plans for the community farm I knew I wanted to be more involved and felt that I had something to offer to support the development of that plan.
The John Lewis Partnership runs a Charitable Trust which gives UK registered charities the opportunity to benefit from the skills of its workforce by allowing members of staff (Partners) to be released on full pay to work with a charity in their area. This means I have been able to leave my job 4 days a week for 6 months to work for Kindling and my job has been back filled so that my team don't have to pick any extra work. Then I have my job to go back to at the end of my secondment, hopefully with new experience and insights.
My aim is to set up a community shares campaign for the Kindling Community Farm. This means working on how we tell the story of the Farm, so that people can understand what it is all about and hopefully decide to be a part of it. Using community shares to buy the farm will mean it is owned by the community and they will be involved in ensuring it is protected and productive for the future.
I'm looking forward to working with everyone within the different aspects of Kindling. It is great to meet such a passionate group of people who are interested and active in the things that I care about. It is brilliant to see a group trying to make a positive difference in the communities it works. Bringing food and farming closer to the people who consume it but also making it accessible to the people who really need it. I'm looking forward to being part of that and hopefully growing it.
The biggest difference compared to my JLP role will be not traveling round the country. I am a regional worker in my usual role so I do a lot of miles, mostly across North England. Plus our head office is in Bracknell, near Heathrow and I travel there once a month for team meetings. I'm looking forward to being in my own bed every night! The most challenging aspect is probably trying to get up to speed with everything that Kindling does as quickly as possible. 6 months isn't that long really and I want to make sure that I have an impact and am able to make a real difference. That is probably the most exciting part. If I can help Kindling move closer to making the community farm a reality that would be amazing!"
We will keep you updated with Abi's work and if you'd be interested in volunteering your time with us - get in touch!