My company held its annual day of corporate volunteering a few weeks back, and presented us with a few charity projects to choose from. After seeing animals and gardening listed on the brief for Kentish Town City Farm, I was sold (as an added bonus it is only a 20 minute walk from my front door!).
When the day came around, I excitedly ditched my corporate get-up, donning my wellies instead as I descended on Kentish Town City Farm.
Tucked away off Grafton Road in Kentish Town, the farm is a tranquil little haven away from the London rat race, where you’re greeted with the sounds of ducks quacking and horses neighing as you pass through the gate.
Upon arrival, we settled in and were given a friendly welcome and an overview of our tasks for the day. While we listened to Mel tell us all about the farm, ducks paddled nearby, chickens pecked at a couple of pumpkins and the horses curiously peered over their stable doors, observing.
We then begun our own private tour of the farm, starting with the three beautiful horses who live in the yard. A little further down the way, we were given an introduction to the adorable goats.
Passing by the allotment, where some of us would later do some gardening, we arrived at the pig pen and received an enthusiastic reception from Marjory the resident pig; a gorgeous Gloucester Old Spot who wallowed in the mud and snorted at us all in turn.
In all of the excitement, we hadn’t noticed Shirley, the farm’s cow, who lived in the pen behind and stood patiently waiting for her introduction.
Having to drag ourselves away from the very popular Shirley and Marge, we wandered over to meet the sheep, who were minding their own business and pretended not to notice us all staring as they chomped on the grass.
Once we made it back to the yard, the wide variety of tasks were delegated. A couple of lucky ladies nabbed the goats’ pen, a handful of people wandered over to muck out the horse stables, a small crowd got their onesies on to rejuvenate the walls of the farm with a fresh lick of paint, another group headed off the allotments to help Valerie with her garden, while I and two colleagues mucked out the cow and sheep stables.
Brandishing pitchforks, paintbrushes, shovels and brooms, we got the farm looking spick and span, aware that we had a group of judges watching on, who would be tough to impress (the geese were particularly demanding).
All the groups worked hard, doing their best to do this amazing little place justice and genuinely having a wonderful time doing so. I worked with Ken and Thomas, regular volunteers at the farm, and we took our straw-filled wheelbarrows up to the compost heap at the top of the farm while we chatted away.
At my request, we stopped on the way back to say hello to Shirley and Marjory, but this time Marge was a little preoccupied with snoring and dreaming away on her straw bed, so I settled for a little bit of goat-time instead.
The animals at the farm had so much personality and I spent most of the day with a huge grin on my face.
This cheeky little fellow had got himself in a right mess after getting a little too carried away snacking on some pumpkin…
After working for a couple of hours, we began to feel very at home on the farm and wandered around finding odds and ends to finish off, leaving the place looking shiny and new.
And still finding time to make new friends in between jobs…
The final treat of the day came in the form of ‘goat grooming’! Minnie, Mikey and Millie met us in the grooming area, where we brushed them down and gave them lots of cuddles. The trio of goats had a crowd of admirers, and the grooming pen was soon filled with doting volunteers.
As our day of volunteering came to an end, we said a very sad goodbye to the volunteers and the animals, heading off for a pint and a debrief in a pub nearby.
Thank you so much to KTCF for hosting our volunteers’ day and allowing us to be part of this very special place. It was such a fun, rewarding and enjoyable experience and I loved getting to know all of you. Now that I know it exists, I think it will be tough to keep myself away from this place!