Sompting Community Farm is a joint project between Sustainable Sussex and Sompting Estate. The concept has evolved out of a vision for an expansion from Sustainable Sussex’s roots at Worthing Leisure Centre, where the fledgling group has been supported by South Downs Leisure for the last 4 years.
Projects so far have been focussed on creating our social enterprise, Sussex Chilli Farm. As we do not have any core funding, this project aims to pay for essentials like maintaining our minibus that was donated to us by Sompting Big Local this year. We have tended gardens at Worthing Leisure Centre with our mixed needs groups – people with learning disabilities working alongside people who may have mental or physical health problems or who have been long-term unemployed. We have built relationships with other organisations such as The Aldingbourne Trust, West Sussex County Council and Worthing Job Centre Plus, all of who refer people in to our projects. We are also gaining referrals from Ball Tree Doctors Surgery into The Sustainable Mind, a mindfulness and meditation project helping people with anxiety, depression or stress, set up by Liane Webb in 2016.
Now we are focussing on co-creating Sompting Community Farm, Nature Trail and Community Orchard.
We have been engaging volunteers in the planning of projects and the concept of the farm and are now at a stage where we are keen to get the wider input of the local community. It is important for us to have the support and ideas of local residents as we hope that the farm will be built and run by local people and directly benefit Sompting as a whole. We believe that community ownership is created by engaging in the building of the project, not by buying it – so we plan to involve the community in building the structures that will house the farm and community spaces. We hope to include various sustainable elements on the farm, from timber frame to hemp lime, solar power to grey water recycling. It is too good an opportunity not to share with the public and the volunteers and we want to share the knowledge of how to use these technologies through hands-on workshops and work days.
Sustainable Sussex and Sussex Chilli Farm is in the process of moving to Sompting from Worthing Leisure Centre. We have already built a 30ft greenhouse on the estate, which houses some of our many chilli plants that help to fund our projects and are in the process of building a poly tunnel on the estate too, so if you would like to get involved or to share your skills or knowledge, please get in touch – and please remember to complete and share our 5 minute survey