New lease of life for much-loved Thrift Farm near Milton Keynes and Buckingham

Ribbons will be cut and a commemorative tree planted when Thrift Farm opens its new Potting Shed Café and Garden Centre on Friday, April 29.

By Hannah Richardson
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 4:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 4:43 pm

Much loved locally for its supportive employment of adults with mental health and learning difficulties, Thrift Farm has been at the heart of the community of Whaddon, near Buckingham and Milton Keynes, for more than 40 years.

The new garden centre development will extend the range of supportive employment for adult care clients.

The service users themselves were the catalyst for the decision to reopen it after five years, saying how much they had enjoyed the previous garden centre on site.

Small animal petting at Thrift Farm

The adult care clients will care for the plants, as well as making a range of products to sell to the public from their workshop, including bird boxes, planters and bug hotels.

Next to the new garden centre is the newly refurbished Potting Shed Café, serving homemade cakes, meals, snacks and barista-style coffee in a calm and relaxing space.

The café and garden centre can be visited without going into the farm park, so anyone can drop in at any time.

General manager Matt Philcox said: “We are extremely proud and excited about the opening of the Potting Shed Café and Garden Centre.

Adult care client helping in The Potting Shed Cafe at Thrift Farm

“Both the garden centre and refurbished café will offer our visitors an even greater experience, whilst at the same time being able to offer another area of the farm our adult care clients can work within.

“They feel particularly proud that cakes they bake and plants they help to cultivate will be available for guests to purchase.

"It adds another dimension to their time with us and helps build confidence, independence and social skills.”

As well as offering supported employment to adults with learning difficulties and mental health issues, Thrift Farm is also a farm park where families can stroll round the Paddocks Trail and get up close to guinea pigs, lambs and goats in the Animal Barn and petting areas.

Goat feeding at Thrift Farm

Thrifty’s Outdoor Play Area offers towers, slides and a sand play area, and there are new jumping pillows and a zip wire.

Thrift Farm Park, The Potting Shed Café and Garden Centre are open from 10am to 5pm daily.

More details can be found at www.thrift-farm.co.uk

Adult care clients at Thrift Farm