'Fantastic response' from community helps put Elm Tree Farm back on its feet
A FARM providing work for people with learning disabilities has been helped back on its feet by the community after a devastating burglary.
Individual donors, groups and businesses have given more than £11,000 to Elm Tree Farm in Stapleton, which was ransacked in December.
The social enterprise has also been given power tools and other equipment to replace some of what was lost.
Brandon Trust, which runs the farm, has said thank you to everyone who has helped – but the charity still urgently needs help to replace the Transit van it used to take its produce to shops, which the burglars drove off in.
The thieves broke in on the weekend of December 7-8, stealing money, woodworking tools, garden equipment and the van. They also damaged the site, including tearing out a safe.
But since news of the break-in and appeal for help spread, the charity has had a "fantastic response" from the community, with over 150 donations from people in Bristol and beyond.
Staff say they have been touched by the "heart-warming comments" from people who have got in touch as they donated.
In addition to cash donations of more than £11,800, the farm has received woodworking power tools and hand tools, a work bench, chainsaws, lawn mowers and other gardening equipment, safety wear and practical help, to improve security and repair the damage.
Brandon Trust chief executive Sue Porto said: “The burglary was a devastating blow, particularly for the 80 people with learning disabilities and autism who work at the farm. Many of them have found it difficult to understand why anyone would target the site.
“However, we’ve been blown away by the generosity of so many people, not just through the donation of funds and equipment, but by the kind words of support.
“Your swift response has helped everyone at the farm get back on their feet quickly and continue almost as normal. Our spirits have been lifted and we’d like to express our heartfelt thanks.”
One trainee at the farm said: “We were so surprised by the community’s support. Without the tools, we wouldn’t be able to work or make things. I am so happy we got the tools from the lovely community.”
Another said: “I am very grateful to the people of Bristol for these donations. I am just overwhelmed by how much we’ve got, so thank you very much!”
Can you help?
The trust still needs help to replace the stolen van, which was used to help workers get to the farm and take produce to St Nick’s farmers’ market every Wednesday.
A spokesperson said: "Without a vehicle, we’re struggling."
Anyone who can offer help should call 0117 907 7200 or email email@example.com.