Wirral autism charity takes over running of community farm and café

A popular community farm and café near Ellesmere Port has recently reopened, under new management.

Bromborough-based charity, Autism Together, has taken over the operation of Bridge Community Farm, formerly Bridge Wellness Gardens, in Overpool.

The site, which first opened in 2015, offers access to a community café and a range of volunteering opportunities, alongside meeting and activity spaces for local community groups.

The horticultural farm area, situated close to Overpool train station, includes polytunnels for growing plants and vegetables, a range of heated cabins, an activity dome, and an extensive orchard.

Formed as a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation), Bridge Farm’s focus has been to provide a therapeutic environment for people with learning disabilities, autism, and those struggling with mental health and isolation.

A range of charities and community groups already access the site, including The Boaty Theatre Company, who work with people to promote positive wellbeing through performing arts. These and other groups will be able to use a range of facilities onsite, alongside individuals from Autism Together’s own Day Services.

Emma Turner from Autism Together is managing the daily activities at the community farm and café

Angie Kemp, Autism Together’s Director of Business Development, said, “We are thrilled to be taking over the running of Bridge Community Farm, and would like to welcome the local community to visit and sample the menu at our new look on-site café.

“We want to reassure any groups which already access the location that they can continue to enjoy their use of the site, under our management, while encouraging other groups and individuals to get in touch to find out how they can make use of this valuable community resource.

“We are also offering a range of volunteering opportunities, to help support people that are socially isolated and offer them a friendly location to meet people, make new friends, and give back to their community.

“Thanks also to the previous managers for their excellent stewardship and efficient handover of the site.”

Following the success of recent family-friendly activity days held at Bridge Community Farm during May half-term, Autism Together is planning a series of similar events throughout the summer.

Ahead of this there will be a ‘Meet The Managers Day’ at the site on Thursday, 27 June, 11am to 2pm.

The meeting is an opportunity for the community to visit Bridge Farm, hear about plans for the coming months, and share their views on what they would like to see happening at the site.

Autism Together will also be launching a public consultation on the future of the site, which will be shared via social media over the coming days.

Liam one of the people supported by Autism Together, volunteering at the site

Emma Turner from Autism Together is now managing the daily activities at the community farm and the café. She said, “Our café area has been refreshed and revamped with a brand new menu and seating for up to 30 guests.

“Members of the public are free to come along and grab a hot or cold drink and a snack in our relaxing café space.

“We will also be running events for children and families throughout the school summer holidays, which will be free or very low cost.

“We look forward to welcoming members of the local community for a cuppa and a chat soon.”

The Bridge Community Farm Café is open 11am to 2pm, Monday to Friday each week. There is onsite parking and the address is Mill Lane, Overpool, Ellesmere Port, CH66 3NE.

Head over to the Bridge Community Farm website to find out more, or to learn about volunteering opportunities: www.bwgardens.co.uk/.

Visit the Facebook page to see the full café menu and prices along with upcoming events: www.facebook.com/bridgecommunityfarm/.

Image: Autism Together’s Emma Turner and Angie Kemp at Bridge Community Farm

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