North East Connected

Ouseburn Farm seeks volunteers to construct new Protohome

The 30-foot timber-frame structure was dismantled from its previous location at nearby Stepney Bank Stables car park and delivered on site last week.  The farm has organised a Protohome volunteer day this weekend, Saturday, September 24 between 9.30am and 4.00pm to help re-construct the structure, which will be used as an outdoor teaching space for visiting schools, groups, volunteers and adult learners.

Protohome is a self-build housing project created by members of Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people.  The timber-frame self-build housing prototype was developed by a group of individuals who have experienced homelessness using a method of building specifically designed for untrained self-builders.  The aim was not to create a full housing model with services but a shell structure that offered a vision of how this could be developed into working housing in the future.

Now in its 40th year and celebrating the news that Drummond Central has stepped forward to part-fund some of the farms yearly deficit for the next three years, Ouseburn Farm will use the Protohome to look after vulnerable adults in the Winter and outdoor classrooms for visiting schools in the Summer.

Farm manager Andrea Haynes, said: “In addition to the classrooms and workshops we already have at the farm, the Protohome will not only benefit the farm but all the different groups of people that will use it.  This will be a great facility to have on site and we rely on volunteers to help us keep the farm operating.

“We are looking for volunteers to help us re-build it – even if you can only spare half an hour that will be really appreciated.  You don’t have to have specific construction or carpentry skills but that would be a bonus.  We need your help – please help us to re-build this structure and bring it back to its former glory.”

The construction of the Protohome is being project managed by Karl Henderson who also volunteers his time at the farm at weekends.  He said: “The structure will be constructed underneath one of the arches of the bridge next to the farm and we are just laying the foundations in preparation for this weekend.  This will be a great new resource for the farm and I hope many people will come forward and volunteer their time to help us rebuild it.”

If you are interested in volunteering or for more information, please contact the farm on 0191 232 3698, or post via Facebook at Ouseburn Farm.  Tea, coffee, juice and lunch will be provided by the farm to all volunteers.

The farm, which attracts 50,000 visitors and is open 363 days per year, announced last week that creative marketing and communications agency Drummond Central has agreed to part-fund some of the farms deficit and provide added value in terms of marketing advice and specialist skills.  The farm is still looking to secure match-funding to cover 100% of the farms £100,000 per year deficit and discussions are currently on-going.

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