TFN team trip to a North London vineyard
Last month the TFN team took some time away from working in the office, supporting great new projects, to catch up with a great TFN supported project. Forty Hall Community Vineyard invited us to spend a morning with them to see how they work, meet their volunteers and even do some pruning!
Forty Hall Community Vineyard is a social enterprise running a 10 acre organic vineyard in Enfield selling English still and sparkling wines, as well as providing health and wellbeing benefits to its volunteers. They pitched at our festive funding event in November 2015, hosted by Macquarie, and raised £9,000. The vineyard is an ecotherapy project, working with local people to boost physical and mental wellbeing through physical activity in the natural environment, reducing stress, developing motivation and raising self-esteem. In addition, the project brings volunteers together, which reduces isolation and loneliness and helps improve social skills.
We travelled to Enfield on a lovely sunny morning, and were surprised and delighted to discover the wonderful Forty Hall which is home to a beautiful vineyard within the M25! We were greeted by Sarah, who runs the project, and Dan and the other volunteers who work on the vineyard. Sarah gave us some information about pruning and then we set off to the vineyard, which is on a farm, so we got to see some cute animals along the way, including some 30 minute old lambs!
We then spent a few hours with the volunteers and beneficiaries of the project, learning how to prune, but more importantly, finding out how being part of the project helps the volunteers and how much they enjoy coming to the vineyard every week. Karen, who works in the TFN team, said ‘It was really great to speak to the beneficiaries and to hear first-hand how the volunteering helps to turn their lives around. It was also fun to be put to work on the vineyeard – I can completely understand why it’s good for the mind!’
Thank you to Sarah and all the volunteers for inviting us to spend a morning with you! If you would like to get involved with the project, you can read more about them on their website and follow them on Twitter and Facebook. We enjoyed the day so much that we are considering holding a TFN Tuesday there so our members can see how their support makes a difference. If you'd be interested in this, please let us know.