An organic farm which gives vulnerable people a chance to learn horticultural skills is celebrating after clinching a major funding boost.
Langwith-based Rhubarb Farm – which provides work placements, training and volunteering opportunities for the needy – has secured £25,000 to help make it grow over the coming years.
The farm beat off competition from seven other organisations to clinch the cash from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT).
Those with mental health problems and ex-offenders, along with people who struggle with social situations, recovering drug and alcohol misusers and youngsters who have been excluded from school, can all become volunteers.
They work to supply fruit and vegetables to shops, cafes and pubs in the Derbyshire area.
The farm was awarded the money after judges were impressed by its presentation in the bidding process.
Luke Kelly, an ex-burglar, ex-prisoner and ex-heroin addict, who is now a key member of Rhubarb Farm, told judges how he had turned his life around thanks to the organisation.
Jennie Street, managing director of the farm, said: “I decided not to put together a slick PowerPoint presentation – after all, what we deliver is all about people. Instead I chose to take a living presentation – in the form of Luke – to the panel.”
Andy Lock, head of operations for the trust, said: “The panel was hugely impressed with Jennie’s approach to the presentation stages – what better way to evidence real change than to bring someone along who can take you through the whole journey.
“Hearing Luke’s story was shocking but also a real reminder of the fantastic work that these organisations are involved with and the life-changing difference they make.”