Plans to expand Linby’s Brooke Farm
Councillor Stuart Wallace, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Adult Social Care and Health Committee, explains how the £353,000 investment will transform Linby’s Brooke Farm into a destination venue for families and create more training opportunities for people with disabilities.
The Council’s Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee approved the following plans today (5 February):
• expanding the café with a pancake theme in recognition of the local legend claiming that the pancake was invented in Linby
• building a children’s play area and improving customer car parking
• extending the shop opening hours and reviewing the products on sale
• increasing the range of plants in a new dedicated sales area to attract more customers to the venue.
The Council-run farm supports people with learning disabilities and Asperger’s Syndrome to gain horticulture skills through growing seasonal produce and plants,
It is hoped the improvements will reduce annual running costs and will increase the range of work experience opportunities available to trainees.
Brooke Farm’s fruit and vegetables are also grown at a site at Skegby which is earmarked for housing as part of the Ashfield District Local Plan.
It is proposed to vacate this site and support work trainees based there to move to the improved Brooke Farm or another site at Balderton.
Two heavily subsidised services which offer garden maintenance work to Council facilities, private locations and residents are also proposed to close as they are not commercially viable in a competitive market with falling customer numbers.
It is hoped the three proposals, which staff, service users and the public will be consulted on, will reduce annual running costs up to £249,000.
It is proposed the maintenance services’ eight employees with disabilities are offered paid positions at Brooke Farm for up to four years where they will receive extra training and support to find alternative permanent jobs.
Brooke Farm is a fantastic place which offers people with disabilities paid work and meaningful activities that benefit their wellbeing, confidence and quality of life.
We are planning to expand what’s on offer to increase activities for trainees and attract more customers, which in turn will make the service more financially sustainable for the long-term.
We will offer paid placements at Brooke Farm to employees affected by the proposed gardening service closures to help them find alternative jobs, which could include new opportunities arising from the farm improvements.