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Stepping it up!Rhubarb Farm keeps getting bigger and better with fruit and veg crops, a cafe, home built pizza ovens, composting toilet, a bug hotel, a wildlife/pond area, and lots of activities.Over 150 volunteers have helped to clear, dig, plant and build on the site, and Rhubarb Farm has been extremely successful in engaging with the hardest to reach, particularly those with mental health issues and/or offender backgrounds. Although funding through the WNF ceased at the end of March 2012, much of the work at Rhubarb Farm will continue.

First Farm Steps Case Studies

More Good News for Rhubarb Farm...

Rhubarb Farm has been awarded funding from the Home Office's Community Action Against Crime Innovation Fund.  This will enable 2 ex-offenders to be employed on a Community Supported Agriculture Scheme until March 2013. They will be working closely with Derbyshire Probation Trust, who will be putting candidates forward for the posts.


And the Winner is Rhubarb Farm!

The Prime Minister has extended his congratulations to the winning businesses of this nationwide scheme. He said: “Congratulations to all the winners of the Local Business Accelerators scheme. It’s brilliant that so many promising young companies, from such a wide range of sectors, are benefiting from this excellent initiative.” The winning business in the Mansfield Chad - community organisation Rhubarb Farm - will receive free advertising in the three editions of the Chad, worth more than £40,000 over a three-month period.


Case Study 3

J1 came to us as a self-referral after redundancy.  She was depressed and feeling lost and directionless. She started coming once a week as a volunteer getting involved in whatever work was happening on site.  She did not mind that she was often the only woman volunteer on site, and worked well alongside other volunteers, who were mostly younger than she is.  She gradually came to be a support for other volunteers, and even to the young staff, being both calm and helpful. 

In September she applied for and was interviewed for the Rhubarb Farm Youth Worker post, but was not the successful candidate, mainly because of her lack of experience working with NEETS.  This failure did not put her off continuing to come as a volunteer, and she now comes twice a week. We have had her CRB-checked because of her informal support for other volunteers, and hope that she may go on to become a Buddy Volunteer if we receive funding for the Rhubarb Buddies Project from Reaching Communities.

J1 herself has stated that she finds coming to Rhubarb Farm helps her to feel more positive about her life and future, and she enjoys the variety of activities. She has asked if she can shadow the new Youth Worker when she starts work, as this will give her more experience for her own CV.  We have welcomed this and will arrange for her to discuss her role with the Youth Worker in November.


Case Study 2

J came to Rhubarb Farm via Derbyshire Probation Trust to pay off a large amount of Community Service Order hours.

He settled in well and turned up reliably and on time. He worked hard, never complained if the work was hard or the weather was horrible. He was good at the growing because he had previously done a Level One Horticulture course, and wants to do horticulture for a living. As time went on and we got to know him better problems associated with his family life began to emerge, and we have been supporting him in discussing the issues on a one-to-one basis and have recently referred him to Family Employment Initiative to help him address the issues around his partner’s mental ill health. He has gradually opened up to us, as he came to trust us, and this has meant that we are able to help him with other things – his self-esteem, his lack of confidence in his own abilities, and his need to learn.

Over the three months that he has been coming to Rhubarb Farm he has developed into one of the strongest volunteers in terms of taking on responsibility for some things, e.g. helping other volunteers on specific tasks. He has also attended a mental health awareness course run by Disability Dynamics.

Courses at Rhubarb Farm...

Rhubarb Farm will be running several courses in the run up to winter, so wrap up warm and come along to grow it, pick it, work it, eat it!

Wood carving: A one day session on 25 October from 10-12.30pm.  Learn how to carve and then preserve the simple object you create during the session.


Wood working: A practical two day course providing an opportunity to learn different woodworking methods and create your own item.  Monday 10 and Monday 17 October from 10-3pm.
Both of the courses above are free to adults who are not working and live in Bolsover district.
Pick it, cook it, eat it: Cookery for young parents. This will be a 3-session course, 9.30-12 noon, dates still to be arranged in October.  This will be for young people with small children, looking at how we can feed our children economically, and healthily.  Emphasis will be on easy and quick dishes which can be taken home at the end of the sessions.
Healthy eating, keep it beating: For people who have mental ill health, this is a two day course from 10.00 - 2.30pm on Tuesday 18 and Tuesday 25 October.   How to cook and eat healthily, it will involve cooking delicious dishes both to eat in and take home (using some ingredients from produce grown at Rhubarb Farm) and a soup to cook at home in between the two sessions, with ingredients provided.
CV writing: This will be a 2.5 hour session for people who are unemployed and want to improve the way they present themselves to prospective employers.   Dates to be confirmed.
Interviewing techniques: This will be a 2.5 hour session for people who are unemployed and want to improve the way they present themselves at interview.  Dates to be confirmed.


All courses will take place at Rhubarb Farm.  For more details or to book a place, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , phone 07527 929592 or visit the
Rhubarb Farm website.

Click to download the Growing Vegetables course poster

Grow Your Own

Rhubarb Farm will be running a four-week Growing Vegetables course during September and October 2011.  This will mark the start of a programme of courses and workshops being delivered this Autumn.

The Growing Vegetables course will teach the basics of growing delicious organic vegetables over four Saturdays starting on 17 September, and will cover:

  • Week one - Soil, organic fertilisers and composting
  • Week two - Which vegetables to start with and ground preparation
  • Week three - Growing and caring for crops
  • Week four - Organic liquid fertilisers and harvest

The course costs £40 in advance or £12 per session, but is FREE to unemployed residents of Bolsover District.  Places are limited so booking is essential.

For more information, or to book a place telephone 01623 741210 (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or check out the Rhubarb Farm website.


Case Study 1

M brought himself to Rhubarb Farm, turning up one day to ask to volunteer, saying he likes to grow his own vegetables at home, but wanted to be involved with others.  He is in his early 20s and has both mild learning difficulties and some history of difficulty with anger management and low level crime.  He is currently on a work training programme.  His history of anger management has brought him into difficulties with previous placements. He has also suffered discrimination and hostility in his own community because of his behaviour.

Our horticulturist has held meetings with him and is assessing how Rhubarb Farm can manage him as a volunteer.  We have found that when working with others, or on a one-to-one basis with another volunteer or member of staff, if he is slightly separate from the larger group he can cope well.  He is calmer and more able to manage what he does.  He has good knowledge of growing and enjoys quite strenuous work.  He is already responding to advice and guidance from us, and says he feels accepted and comfortable at Rhubarb Farm.  We feel that for M we are offering him a role and a place that is inclusive, and where he can feel safe.

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