Changes for 2017
On 2nd November 2016 we were given notice to quit the farm after five years of building up both Quercus Community and the Ecocentre. We were told that we were required to vacate the centre by 31st December.
We had known that changes were underway, as the farm was not making money, and had agreed that we would move out of the centre and use the kitchen as a base. When that agreement was broken, having already looked at alternative venues and found none suitable, we had no choice but to close down the group.
To have hung on for longer would have put our members in danger of not finding replacement activities. Even so, several of the group, due to a combination of circumstances have not been able to find alternatives.
It’s a sad end to the group.
Quercus Community is a Community Interest Company formed with the purpose of running Green Care and outside learning activities.
It was formed when Julia Wilson and Dave Pearce, the two founding directors, met whilst working for Nottingham City Council. Julia was looking for a new challenge after a 30 year career with the council and Dave was looking for something to do after his consultancy with the council ended. They decided to launch Quercus Community, providing care for people with various disabilities, s subject Dave felt strongly about after 20 years as a wheelchair user. At a meeting with a community accountant they were told about David Rose and the new Ecocentre he was building at Screveton.
The centre was not quite finished when Julia and Dave first visited. Four years later it still isn’t quite finished. Or it’s a work in progress, depending on your point of view.
Our core activity takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays when we have a group of regular clients with learning difficulties. many have been with us several years now so it is more like an extended family than a group.
Our other main activity is developing and delivering the education programme on the farm. We have seen over 800 children on the farm for educational visits in the last twelve months, with a further 550 coming to our education tent at Flintham Ploughing Match and another 100 baking, making butter and pressing apples on the school field when we took the mobile wood-burning oven for a day out as part of a visit for the Comenius programme..
Of course, when you are using a wood-burning oven even the best plans can sometimes go wrong and at 350 degrees Centigrade the margin between bread and carbon isn’t great. We used this photograph to produce a second batch and nobody spotted they didn’t get their original bread back! A flexible approach and a poker face are great assets when baking outdoors.
Our new plan for 2015 is to visit more schools, so I’m sure I’m going to be learning more about flexibility. We’ve already done a Breakfast Roadshow in support of national Breakfast Week – the German Breakfast came first (black bread, sausage, cheese) and the English and Australian breakfasts tied for last place (Marmalade on toast and Vegemite on toast rspectively). To be fair the toast was cold as we had to make the breakfasts and drive three miles to the school. The American breakfast (pancakes and syrup) was second and the French (pain au chocolat) third.
We will refine this over the coming year, gradually making the English Breakfast more appealing and the others less so, though cold toast and Vegemite will be hard to beat!
So far we have delivered nearly as many vists up to May 2014 as we did in the whole of 2015, so things are looking good.
If you would like to visit us on the farm use this contact form and we will see what we can arrange.