• Iona Tamburrino

Volunteering at Stonebridge City Farm - Day One


We arrived at Stonebridge City Farm with butterflies in our tummies. Unsure of what to expect, excited about meeting the animals and people, we pulled on our wellies and headed into the reception area. We were greeted warmly by Reiss, the Volunteer Co-Ordinator who took us on a tour of the farm and went over fire, health and safety poicies with us. Then it was time to begin! After a swift cuppa, we headed to the barn and were immediately greeted by their two new baby pygmy goats, Connie and Torie. At only a week old, they were the most adorable, happy little creatures you could imagine! We soon discovered that they were being hand-reared on-site after losing their mother. One of the volunteers even came to the farm to be with them over night and do their nightly feeds. Next we were introduced to Alannah who teamed us up with Pat, their Guinea Pig expert and put straight to work cleaning their pens. Now, there were 15 guinea pigs in one of the large pens, cute, fluffy and full of character, not really amused by our disturbance. The chase was on! With cat carriers close to hand, we caught them all, counted them one by one and moved them temporarily while we cleaned. I can tell you that the smell of guinea pig feaces and urine is not pleasent, but I feel that there will be worse smells to come! All part of farm life. We swept up the bedding and poop, took it out in a wheelbarrow to be composted (nothing goes to waste here!), disinfected the floor, located the fresh straw and made it nice for them to come back to. We cleaned all their food and water bowls and replaced them, put in their toys and then proceeded to chase and catch the guinea pigs again to bring them home to their nice clean pen. That should do them for a bit. Then we headed to two more smaller pens and repeated the same procedure. The barn was bustling with volunteers cleaning different pens. Everyone had a role and got on with it. There were lots of "S'cuse me, please!", "Where's my broom?" and "Can I have your hay when you've done?" being said and everyone smiled as they worked, obviously so fulfilled by what they were doing. Also in the barn were lots of rabbits, two terrapins, and a tortoise called Kevin. If you're lucky you might come across the two resident cats named Monster and Rogue. The teeam took a break, giving us time for a cuppa and a chance to chat with the volunteers. After that we finally took a moment to cuddle and play with the baby Pygmy goats we'd previously encountered and then it was time to contiune cleaning the guinea pig pens. After our time was up, we spent a little time walking around the farm saying hello to the other animals in the fields/ There were all kinds of birds, chickens, geese and a turkey. Cows, goats, sheep, pot-bellied pigs and ponies. The sun was shining unusually brightly and we left the farm on such a high, full of ideas of other ways in which we could help this farm. One thing is for sure, there will be a painting of one of these glorious animals, auctioned to help raise funds. We're really looking forward to seeing what the coming weeks will bring. Take a look at the short video below highlighting our time volunteering at Stonebridge City Farm on our first day. Remember, to donate, click: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/stonebridgecityfarmappeal?fbclid=IwAR3_eV1cM0_OWV9OK6icIaRrpOLQvcLg235AmsmAc9-WIUKT9KNUuZMinXQ to help fundraise to keep Stonebridge City Farm going.