Elm Tree Farm

One of Bristol's hidden treasures!

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Tucked away on a 37-acre site in Bristol, Elm Tree Farm is a working care farm, producing a wide variety of nutritious produce grown using organic farming methods and breeding a range of livestock

Outside Elm Tree Farm donation bank

Through a range of projects and services on site, we support more than 60 people with learning disabilities and/or autism – our co-farmers – to learn transferable skills, access employment support, and experience all the therapeutic benefits that come from being immersed in nature in a safe and supportive environment.

All our produce can be bought from our onsite farm shop. We also welcome regular volunteers, including corporate groups, to experience life on the farm working alongside the people we support.

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Supported employment and training

Two happy women stood in front of an 'Elm Tree Farm' shop sign

As a working smallholding, care farm, and social enterprise, we’re able to include the people who access our services in the everyday running of the farm and its projects. This means that everyone can make a real contribution, be part of a team, and gain experience in a genuine working environment. The variety of active support opportunities also allows us to provide a person-centred service to each individual, choosing projects and activities to meet their needs and interests.

We like to give individuals the opportunity to get to know us and vice versa, so we offer a free four-week trial period during which we can establish the person’s needs. We work closely with families, social workers, and the individuals themselves, to identify the projects and aspects of the farm where we feel they would thrive, and to assess what support is needed.

We offer in-house training designed to provide people we support with the transferable skills required in any job, such as timekeeping, listening, following instructions, health and safety, and rights and responsibilities. The people we support can put their numeracy and customer service skills into practice in a real-life situation in our shop and at local markets, providing them with valuable work experience

The farm is a safe, therapeutic environment where individuals have the choice and opportunity to make a positive contribution and improve their quality of life. We encourage people to share their ideas, develop independence and self-esteem, as well as increasing understanding and confidence in their own skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Many people build positive relationships, improve social skills, and reduce their social isolation.

We are accredited by THRIVE Quality Assurance Scheme which enables us to deliver horticultural therapy, and CEVAS(Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme) accreditation in Therapeutic Care Farming.

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Elm Tree Farm Shop

A warm welcome awaits you at our popular farm shop located onsite at Elm Tree Farm. Our products are carefully sourced and lovingly handpicked by local suppliers and companies that we believe in.

Penny and her team, made up of our trainees, support workers, and supported employees, pride themselves on offering a unique shopping experience. They are full of advice on product selection and go above and beyond when it comes to helping you find and source products of the highest quality.

Our farm shop offers a wide range of food, treats, gifts and more, and has a coffee machine for takeaway treats.

All produce grown and produced on the Farm, can be bought from our farm shop. The shop is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am – 5pm.

Car parking is available for shop customers.

Our veg boxes can be ordered in-season. Available produce will vary depending on the time of year. Please contact the shop to enquire.

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Projects based at the Farm

Elm Tree Farm is home to lots of different projects which provide opportunities for adults with learning disabilities and autism to gain work skills and access vocational training.

In our market garden, we cultivate a range of seasonal fruit and vegetables which are grown using organic methods. To reduce food waste, we use any unsold stock to make our own chutneys and jams.

We sell our produce in the onsite shop, alongside items from the plant nursery, market garden, Splinters workshop, and meat from our livestock.

In spring and summer, the nursery grows a range of popular cut flowers for bouquets which we raise from seed in our greenhouses. We also offer a variety of potted plants and house plants. In the autumn, we produce apple juice using apples grown in our orchard, and we sell Christmas trees and handmade wreaths in the winter.

We breed and rear a variety of livestock on the farm including horses, hens, pigs, cows, lambs, and rabbits. Many of our animals are rare and heritage breeds. When in season, we also sell our freedom-reared, grass-fed meat.

Splinters is our woodwork project. We produce a range of high-quality, wood-based products, including decorative items for the home and garden. Bird boxes, insect hotels, and wooden planters are just some of the items we make.

Everything we make is available to purchase at our onsite farm shop and at the Brandon charity shops.

We also sell restored and upcycled wooden furniture, as well as carrying out small-scale furniture repairs and restoration projects for customers.

We pride ourselves on using recycled timber wherever possible, and we also sell kindling and fire blocks from the farm shop.

Disabled Girl in the Car with Parents Happy disabled teenager is getting in to the car with her parents. Disability Stock Photo

Volunteer

Individual and corporate volunteers make a valuable contribution to the life and work of the farm, across all our projects and activities. Please visit the Support Us page for more information about volunteering with Brandon.

What is care farming?

A mixture of potted plants on a table with labels

Care farming is the therapeutic use of farming practices, utilising working agricultural farms and smallholdings to provide health and social care for people with a wide range of vulnerabilities and support needs. At Elm Tree Farm, this means we work with adults and children with learning disabilities and autism.

Care farms provide a supervised, structured programme of farming-related activities, including animal husbandry (livestock, small animals, and poultry), flower and vegetable production, and woodworking.

Trainees attend on a regular basis based on their assessed needs. The active support opportunities enable people to meet the goals and outcomes identified as important by themselves and their support network.

Animal welfare

A black cow stood in a field with green grass

As a small working farm, we produce a range of fruit, vegetables, and meat products. One of our most important aims is to ensure that our approach to animal welfare aligns with the highest industry standards.

We actively aim to let our animals live in the most natural way possible, and only intervene where there is a health issue that we need to manage.

Our animals are kept in a way that encourages their natural behaviours and offers them enrichment. We make sure that they have fresh water and that they are fed a varied, appropriate diet.

They are checked daily for any signs of ill health or injury, and we only use medicines or antibiotics when they are required, as directed by our vets. We aim to minimise stress on our animals and adhere to the five freedoms, as set out by the RSPCA.

History

An 'Elm Tree Farm' sign next to a wall and bush

Elm Tree Farm has been a working farm providing meaningful activities and transferable work skills for people with learning disabilities and autism for many years. It was originally part of Stoke Park Hospital, founded in 1909, and situated behind the landmark Dower House beside the M32.

Following the national transfer of people with learning disabilities being supported in institutions to community-based support, the Farm was taken over by Brandon Trust in 2000. Part of the Farm is in the Stoke Park Estate which is a Grade 2 Historic Park and high-quality agricultural land.

  • My daughter Jess has recently started a placement at Elm Tree Farm, which she is really enjoying. She’s getting to know the people who support her on the three days she attends and always comes home happy, telling me what she’s been doing and who with. Jess has really settled well into day-to-day to activities and this is down to the very good support she is getting from all the staff. All the staff are positive and friendly, which is enabling Jess to grow in confidence and potentially learn and achieve new skills for the future.

    Pam | Trainee's parent

  • I would just like to thank you and the team very much for being so welcoming and providing me with this experience. I couldn’t recommend it more and it has honestly been really worthwhile. I just love what the farm is all about and all your members of staff are fantastic, as are the guys and (the very few) ladies who come to the farm. Working with Louis, Brinmore, Terry, and Aidan has been an amazing experience, they’re all very special guys. And although I’ve only been at the farm for six months, they flourish every time I see them. I feel like I’ve made a really tight bond and will be absolutely gutted when I have my last day. Again thank you so much, I have learnt an incredible amount.

    Jessie Davies, Volunteer

  • The staff, helpers and trainees are all amazing on the farm. It is a very friendly and relaxed environment. My son gets a lot of enjoyment from training on the farm.

    Sarah, Trainee’s parent

Get in touch

Elm Tree Farm, Park Road, Stapleton, Bristol, BS16 1AA
0117 958 6206 | Emergency on-call: 07464 670 300

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