Please note The Blackford Trust is now closed - this page is retained for purely historic interest
We have provided support towards the development of the farming business of Cyrenians Farm, a small community enterprise located just outside Edinburgh. As well as growing delicious fruit and vegetables and cultivating livestock, the Farm is also home to a community of vulnerable young people, many with backgrounds of homelessness.
We classified this as a social enterprise award. For more on our interest in "social enterprise", see this page.
Background to our partner (see also here and here)
The Farm is a social enterprise run by Edinburgh Cyrenians, an independent charity providing innovative help to hundreds of people a year whose lives are blighted by homelessness and poverty. They work with all parts of the community to eradicate homelessness and promote social inclusion.
Over the past 40 years Cyrenians have developed a range of inter-connected services aimed at tackling all aspects of homelessness and enabling people to progress to a better life. Their help is offered with respect for the dignity of each individual and is provided in a holistic manner, ensuring that people have the best chance of finding real and lasting solutions to their problems.
Photos courtesy of Cyrenians Farm
Their unique approach to residential care helps young people to develop their skills through training and ongoing support. Over 80% of the young people involved say that their experience at Cyrenians Farm improved their self-confidence, self-esteem, motivation and ability to manage their own lives.
Outcomes and lessons
Update August 2010
The team at the Cyrenians Farm have installed a new chicken 'ark' for a flock of Hyline Brown chickens, purchased with an award from the Trust. This was constructed in August 2010 by a team from PricewaterhouseCoopers as a team-building exercise – two of our Trustees also played a small part ! The chickens are reported to be enjoying their new home.
Photos courtesy of Cyrenians Farm and PricewaterhouseCoopers
Update April 2011
Cyrenians now report that they have greatly increased egg production since the autumn, with a significant impact on farm income and access to new markets. For example, Falko : Konditormeister, an artisan German baker and cake maker based in Gullane and Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, has begun to use their eggs for his ice cream and bakery products. In addition, Cyrenians Farm eggs recently won an
“egg off” competition run by Greener Monday.
As well as growing food, Cyrenians also aim to “grow people”. Their unique approach to residential care helps young people to develop their skills through training and ongoing support. Over 80% of the young people involved say that their experience at Cyrenians Farm improved their self-confidence, self-esteem, motivation and ability to manage their own lives.
Everyone at Cyrenians Farm is to be congratulated for their achievements over the past year.
Update March 2012
The farm has recently been gifted a tractor by Albert Bartlett, allowing a move into full field production - this is a major step in their plans for field production on a rotational basis. This is the accepted practice of dividing the ground into five parcels, with crops belonging to the same family being "rotated" year on year with each other and with the areas left under green manure or nutrition building crops. This will be the first time the farm has used all of its potential cropping fields.
Our second award to Cyrenians Farm was for a front loader attachment for the tractor, which will allow much easier movement of the large quantities of compost and manure required by the farm's crops. It will also ease the transport of the harvest from the field to the storage area. The main use of the front loader will be straightforward lifting, carrying and moving of farm materials which would otherwise be done over the shoulder or in a barrow. Two of the Community Jobs Scotland Trainees at the farm have recently received accreditation in tractor driving, increasing the skill set of the team.
Update May 2016
We made a small additional award to Cyrenians as part of our final award package.
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This page was last updated on 23 May 2016.
A charity formerly registered in Scotland, no. SC039658