Care farm honoured with prestigious ‘rural Oscar’

Clinks Care Farm receives the Rural Enterprise award from environment secretary Michael Gove. Photo

Clinks Care Farm receives the Rural Enterprise award from environment secretary Michael Gove. Photo courtesy of Clinks Care Farm. - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk farm which combines the care of land with the care of people has won a prestigious ‘rural Oscar’.

Clinks Care Farm in Toft Monks was named champion in the Rural Enterprise category of The Countryside Alliance Awards.

The awards, now in its 13th year, recognise the contribution rural businesses and organisations make to the rural community and economy.

At the awards ceremony, which was staged at the House of Lords on Wednesday, April 25, Clinks Care Farm beat tough competition from five rural businesses from across the country.

The farm is owned and run by husband and wife team Doeke Dobma and Iris van Zon – who expressed their delight at receiving the honour.

Mr Dobma said: “We are so excited to receive this award and to have the recognition on a national level for the work we do.

“We would like to thank the people that nominated us and everyone that has supported us through the years.”

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The farm was launched in 2010 and offers a work experience based programme called ‘farming on prescription’.

It offers an alternative to day care by providing meaningful activities and tasks in the natural therapeutic environment of the farm.

The innovative mental health care programme has had a monumental impact on the local community with more than 200 patients benefiting from the method.

Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner praised the hard work and dedication of the owners and volunteers at the farm.

He said: “Our champion has been a trailblazer in their industry and is delivering a unique rural solution to those suffering mental health issues.

“They started out as the only business of this type in the UK – which has since worked with over 200 patients and supported local councils in the region to create similar enterprises.”

He added: “In addition, this rural enterprise grows fresh produce which is sold in their own shop, at farmers markets and delivered locally.

“The practical education and training they provide to local people is invaluable in supporting them to start employment opportunities that would not have otherwise been possible.

“Their commitment to help the most disadvantaged members of their community should be commended and it is clear that local people have responded positively through the many ways they support this business.”

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