All of our volunteers have different stories and different reasons for why they decided to offer their time to the farm. We’re excited to introduce Lizzy!
My name is Lizzy and I have recently started volunteering at Vauxhall City Farm.
I’m here to tell you a little bit about my experiences as a newbie to the farm, how great it is, and how I’d recommend it to pretty much anyone. Buckle up, this is going to be an onslaught of farming fabulousness (and a little bit of a love letter to Daffodil the Sheep).
I volunteer at the farm for a day and a half every week, one day on the farmyard and half a day with the horses. For the rest of the week, I’m a classical singer, freelancing as a soprano all over the UK and abroad.
Singing and farming you might ask? Not your regular combination? In all honesty I’ve no idea where it came from.
I know I’ve always loved animals and loved being outdoors, but if you told me 6 months ago that I’d be pouring water out of my shoes having just tried to convince 12 chickens that being outside in a thunderstorm really isn’t their greatest idea, I’d probably have told you that that sounds terribly jolly, but I actually have a singing career to work on. Yet here I am!
Before I get all soppy about how fulfilling it is yadda yadda yadda (though I will get onto that), I’ll talk a bit about what volunteers do.
There are basic jobs that have to be done every day. Mucking out the animals, making sure the farmyard is nice and clean for visitors, feeding the animals and putting them to bed at the end of the day.
There is plenty of time for interaction (read: cuddles) with the animals as well as more human based tasks like helping out with school trips, Riding for the Disabled lessons, or working on the information desk to welcome visitors to the farm.
Every day is a learning experience which is one of the things I enjoy so much about it. Whether it’s learning the name of a new animal, trying to get a rabbit to make friends with other rabbits or learning about the (millions of pieces of) riding gear, you can be sure there will be something to keep things interesting.
There are lots of skills you can get from working on the farm such as working with children, gardening, animal care, and even working in the on site café, all while having lots of snuggly animals to love while you’re at it.
My favourite animal is Daffodil the Herdwick Sheep. On my first day I was sweeping and she came and put her head on my shoulder and allowed me to give her a big cuddle. For me, it was love at first sight. I mean I love all the animals but who doesn’t love a snuggly sheep?
Just doing something completely different to my usual job is the best thing about volunteering.
As a freelancer I can lack routine and simply having something on a weekly basis is hugely beneficial to me.
Being with the animals is also about as therapeutic as it can get and it really helps me to get into a productive mind-set for the rest of my slightly bizarre working week.
The people I work with are so friendly and welcoming and I’ve felt like I’m part of a fantastic team right from the start.
It’s a privilege to volunteer at Vauxhall City Farm and I’d recommend it to anybody who is wondering how do something with their spare time aside from watching reruns on Netflix for 6 hours straight, or just wants to spice up their day to day routine.
You come out of each day feeling rejuvenated, happy, physically exhausted (in a really good way) and like you’re using your spare time in a way that helps people and animals alike.
Find out more about Lizzy’s career as a classical singer at LizzyHumphries.com