Double dose of funding injected into healthy living

The Sustainable Development Fund has previously funded the Health Food, Placements and Produce project which promotes healthier lifestyles for individuals with mental health problems and learning disabilities not only by providing healthy activities on farms but also involving the individuals in producing healthy food.  This second round of newly acquired funding will allow the project to concentrate on work based OCN qualifications like fencing, horse care, hedge laying, dry stone walling and even farmhouse cooking.

Amongst those supporting the project at the National Park Visitor Centre last month were Roger Williams MP, Dr Alan Butt Philip, Cllr William Powell, as well as local farmers and representatives from Brecknockshire Wildlife Trust, Powys County Council Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Team – Ten Green Bottles.

Receiving the cheque on behalf of Powys Sense’s Working Farms, Trevor Stringer said: “I would like to doubly thank Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund for their help in developing this project; which has proved successful in providing placements and training with supportive farmers for individuals disadvantaged in the job market.  The project started after a Sustainable Development Fund feasibility study two years ago and now 500 placements later this second grant will help make the project sustainable and provide longevity to build on what we’ve already achieved.

“We aim to ensure the project becomes sustainable by developing land skills training, employment entry in farm work and social enterprises such as ‘Gardens Tidy’ Community Gardening, ‘Beacons Lazy Bags’ (vegetables grown in waste fertiliser bags with rotted manure) ‘Pot to Pan’ Cooking and Menu book, Small Task Response Team and Transport to Work.

“In particular the project will look at the involving individuals in the production and sale at farmers’ markets of fruit, vegetables and herbs. We try to encourage individuals to eat healthily (and combat the poor diets which their medication may be causing) by providing cooking courses and ‘Health Food Days at local centres.  For these particular courses we teach the skills using locally produced foods, menu planning, pickling, freezing and simple recipes that can be used at home.

CEO John Cook spoke highly of the project saying:  “This is just the sort of activity the National Park is keen to encourage – supporting the farming industry and providing sustainable work opportunities in the Bannau Brycheiniog.”

Working Farms is keen to hear from new farmers in the Bannau Brycheiniog who may have suitable training opportunities.   They will be starting a health cooking course at 3 Cs Abergavenny next month and they are keen to find venues in other parts of the Bannau Brycheiniog that will help support their project.  Please contact Trevor Stringer on 07932 426 435 or 01544 340212 or visit




Pictures:  Copyright of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority

From left to right:  Jane Kent and Trevor Stringer from Powys Sense’s Working Farms; John Cook, CEO for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority and Roger Williams MP.




Powys Sense Ltd was set up in January 2007 as a company limited by guarantee with a voluntary governing body.  It aims to provide work support for individuals disadvantaged in the job market and recuperative activities for individuals with disabilities against a backdrop of working in a healthy rural environment. Probably 70% of our participants have unhealthy lifestyles and diets and many want to be involved in more food production.

Since the project started two years ago and following a feasibility study funded by Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority’s SDF, Working Farms has shown that there is a waiting list of 500 individuals for 60 placements on over 20 farms.  The project has also welcomed funding from UnLtd, Social Risk, Laura Ashley, RCA Monmouthshire, GAVO Grass Roots, Monmouthshire County Council CEDS, Social Risk EFO, Co-op, Tudor Trust, AWM Nexus Grant, E.F Bulmer Benevolent Fund and ESF Community Grant.