Many of the farm’s adult care clients and their families gathered in the new rustic-feel café as he cut the ribbon to mark its opening, before planting a cherry tree by the new garden centre.
Mr Smith said: “I visited Thrift Farm back in 2020 and I had a fantastic time seeing how many families get so much pleasure and enjoyment out of it.
“Since then, the improvements are amazing.
"The new café looks absolutely superb and I know my five-year-old will love a marshmallow hot chocolate.
"I think my wife will certainly want to visit the garden centre. It’s a real honour and privilege to be part of the opening of both.”
The development of the garden centre, after a five-year hiatus, was driven by the desire to offer more supportive employment for the adult care clients.
General manager Matt Philcox said: “The adult care clients will play an integral part in the garden centre.
“They loved the previous garden centre, and this new one will allow them to care for the plants as well as making a wide range of products to sell to the public from their onsite workshop, such as bird boxes, planters and bug hotels.”
After enjoyed a coffee in the new café, Mr Smith was shown around the new garden centre and presented with his own bird box by Jonathon, one of the adult care clients.
The café and garden centre can be visited without going into the farm park.
Thrift Farm is still home to a petting farm, where visitors can get up close to farm animals from guinea pigs to baby lambs and goats in the undercover Animal Barn and petting areas, while Thrifty’s Outdoor Play Area combines towers, slides and a sand-play area. There are also new jumping pillows and a zip wire.
A stroll round the Paddocks Trail completes the visit and offers more animals for children to see.
Thrift Farm Park, the Potting Shed Café and Thrift Farm Garden Centre are open from 10am to 5pm daily. For details, visit www.thrift-farm.co.uk or call 01908 501733.