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Dutch Farm in Garston provides a safe therapeutic outdoor space, focusing on horticulture, conservation and sustainability, where people can develop their garden skills and produce organic vegetables.
Run by YMCA Liverpool & Sefton, it offers bespoke activities to hard to reach young people, those with mental health issues, addiction needs, long and short-term homeless people and the local community.
The aim is to inspire health and wellbeing and help young people especially to combat various life challenges and build their resilience.
Francis Eades from Baltic Bespoke has been working with YMCA Liverpool & Sefton for the past six months and has witnessed the work they do across the region, often unseen and unsung.
That’s why he is supporting the Dutch Farm project with its latest goal – to build a permanent contemporary learning pod as a base for therapy and skills sessions.
He explains: “I’ve recently worked closely with YMCA Liverpool & Sefton, refurbishing a property for them to provide 24/7 365 care for people with specific complex needs, and I’ve seen first-hand how their highly-trained staff and support network help some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“That was what gave us the idea to provide some additional support by creating a match funding campaign to build the learning pod.
“At the moment, they have containers and bell tents which are fine in the summer, but we really want them to have something more permanent, which could be heated and be a really bright, modern place for people to use.”
£10,000 has already been raised go to towards the build, and Francis is aiming to raise a further £10,000 so work can be completed in time for farm’s busy spring period.
Francis says he’s keen to give back to help a worthy cause, especially after a busy summer for his own business.
Lockdown has seen a growing trend in people wanting to add garden rooms to their home and Baltic Bespoke has noticed a definite upturn in business over the past few months.
“Spending more hours at home, either working or in the evenings when the pubs and restaurants were shut, gave people the time to think about making better use of their space,” he says.
“They don’t necessarily want to convert a room within their house, but where they have the space outside then we’ve seen a lot more people adding garden offices and garden bars which are a fun project they can get involved in designing. There’s also been more demand, especially lately, for garden gyms and yoga studios, and for salons.”
With spending options limited by the Covid restrictions, homeowners are looking to make an investment in property that will pay back in the long-term too.
“So many people have had holidays cancelled or they’ve not been able to book one this year, so they’ve decided to use that cash on improving their home and adding value to it,” he explains.
“A garden room adds between 5% and 10% onto the value so it’s been a really popular choice for people who are working from home more now and want a dedicated office or want somewhere they can get away from everything at the end of the day.”
Francis says his team of craftsmen will create a bespoke design for Dutch Farm, which should be completed from plan within four weeks.
“Spring is one of the most productive times at the farm so we really want it to be built, up and running by then, ready for the first users to make the most of it.”
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