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New farm venture is breath of fresh air for those who need helping hand

By Lotte Pegler
lotte.pegler@sussexpost.co.uk

 

Everyone is set to benefit from a new community interest company coming to town.

 

Crimshaw Farm in Pagham is already the talk of Bognor Regis as councillors and residents alike await its big opening.

 

The initiative promises to provide support for those struggling in the community, whether that be the homeless, ex-veterans who have been neglected, or people struggling with autism – they want to help as many people as they can.

 

Led by a team of four, with the backing of more than 30 volunteers, they hope to see the project grow and grow.

 

Currently, the farm is already home to an array of saddleback pigs, mini-pigs, chickens and goats and with acres of land at their disposal, expansion is inevitable.

 

Craig Pinkney, one of the team at the farm, said he was very excited to see their project grow.

 

“This is going to provide services for veterans,” said Craig. “It’s going to eventually belong to the community.

 

“We were inspired to start up a project after the death of Danny Johnston.

 

Danny Johnston, 35, was an experienced soldier who served his country for many years as part of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment.

 

His distinguished career saw him serve with the Special Reconnaissance Regiment.

 

He took his life May, 2018, after a lengthy battle with mental health issues.

 

All Call Signs, a peer-to-peer chat app for in need servicemen, women and veterans, was established following his death to reduce the number of self-harm incidents and suicides in the military community.

 

“It was only a few months afterwards and we were sat down and I was having a moan about my son being turned down for another job,” said Craig, “and Shane said the same thing and so we decided we needed to set up something to help vets and really anyone who needs a helping hand.”

 

Shane Matthew, part of the farm’s team, said: “We got onto the land owner, I’ve been coming down here for years and we knew that it hadn’t been properly used for years. It was only an impromptu chat that led to this when we decided, ‘Let’s see what we can get set up’.

 

“We invited a local forest school down because they had been thrown out of Slindon because of the weather.

 

“She was the head of (special educational needs coordinator) SENCO for the Regis School and she told us all the schools needed something like this. We thought let’s go down the education route.”

 

A number of schools around the area have already shown a lot of interest in building up a relationship with the farm.

 

A spokesman from The Regis School, said: “Crimsham Farm have very kindly set up a small coppice area for some of The Regis School’s forest school sessions.

 

“The students have enjoyed going to the farm and being able to interact with the animals.

 

“We run these sessions to allow students in the transition from primary school to secondary school.

 

“It helps build students’ confidence and resilience enabling them to be in the best possible position for learning when they join us in Year 7 and beyond.”

 

Craig said it was things like this that would ensure the farm had a stable income and a bright future.

 

“In the near future, we want to set up our welfare centre and start up our activity days. We’ll have a stable income from the days we’ll be open for education as well as the day we’re open for the public.

 

“We’re helping people who need a helping hand, people who can just come here and be themselves and learn something. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

 

Maintaining the link with army veterans is high on the team’s list of priorities.

 

Shane said: “The link will be maintained through consistent events and use of the farm’s facilities as well as ongoing support through mental health struggles, financial and housing struggles through work carried out at the All Call Signs RV.

 

“Personally, I’m most excited about the start of our special educational needs education projects.

 

“It means deliverability of the project and construction is secured for the next four years.”

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