Help Elm Tree Farm after devastating burglary
PEOPLE are being urged to help a charity-run farm which was ransacked in a devastating burglary.
Power tools, a van, cash and a safe were stolen from Elm Tree Farm in Stapleton, a social enterprise which gives about 80 people from across the area with learning disabilities and autism the chance to gain skills in its wood workshop and garden. The things they make and grow are sold to help support the farm.
The raid on the 37-acre farm in Park Road, run by charity the Brandon Trust, happened overnight on December 7-8.
Thieves took everything from lawnmowers, power tools and chargers to the van used to deliver logs and kindling to shops.
Brandon Trust chief executive Sue Porto has thanked the many Bristol people who have already come forward to offer help and replacement tools.
She said: “We’ve had a great response from people in Bristol, with offers of equipment, tools and practical help such as security, as well as donations and well wishes, so thanks to everyone!
"However, we still need help, particularly to replace our van that was stolen, which is vital for transporting the people we support to and from the farm as well as taking our produce to Bristol Farmers’ Market at St Nicks, where we’ve had a stall for over 20 years.”
Sue said she was "shocked, sickened and dismayed" at the burglary, adding: "Elm Tree Farm offers vital opportunities for individuals to learn work skills and have a paid job, something which far too few people with a learning disability have access to. Coming to the farm also has an invaluable impact on people in terms of enabling them to build confidence and make friends.
"A crime like this is utterly devastating for everyone who benefits from the work we do here. Elm Tree Farm has lost almost everything, so any help will be greatly appreciated by us all."
Anyone who would like to offer tools or equipment should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cash donations can be made directly to the farm online, at elmtreefarm.org.
Sue has written an open letter to the thieves, appealing to them to contact the trust on 0117 907 7200 to arrange to hand back what they stole.
She said: "It is never too late to put this right."
Anyone who has information about the break-in or thinks they may have been offered something stolen in the raid should call the police on 101 and quote the crime reference number 5219 282 417.
TEENAGER Noah Parfitt is one of the 80 people working at Elm Tree Farm.
Noah, above, from Downend, has been working one day a week for more than a year at the farm's Splinters Workshop, making wood products, from kindling to bird boxes and Christmas decorations, which are sold to help support the social enterprise. He has also helped make deliveries in the van which was stolen in the burglary.
The 18-year-old, who also studies at City of Bristol College, said: "I like making stuff and learning new things.
"They are nice and friendly – I've made new friends."
When Noah arrived to work a few days after the break-in he was told he couldn't do his usual job.
He said: "We couldn't make the Christmas stuff because it would involve having to drill some holes. They had taken all the chargers and tools from Splinters Workshop.
"Hopefully people will give some tools, so we can start making things again."
Noah's dad Adam said: "Going to the farm has increased his confidence and his skills with woodwork, given him additional social skills and he's doing something for a social enterprise, so he's giving something back to the community.
"Brandon Trust is a really great organisation – the staff are really supportive and encouraging.
"The benefit Noah has received, we're sure, is replicated many times and makes a huge difference to the wider community."