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Stockwood Community Benefit Society

What they do

In 2012 Stockwood Community Benefit Society successfully bought Rush Farm and Stockwood Business Park. This share raise aims to develop infrastructure and renewable energy systems, as well as bring more of the organisation into community ownership.

 

The story so far

In 2014 Stockwood Community Benefit Society completed a successful share offer raise to purchase 150 acres of Rush Farmland and Stockwood Business park. The aim of the society is to benefit the local rural economy, community and the environment. In 2017 Stockwood completed a second sucessful share offer whic bought another 31 acres of land and installed two renewable energy generators.

The Society’s objectives focus on inspiring, educating and engaging people in biodynamic and organic farming and applying environmentally sustainable technologies and policies to itself and its tenant businesses.

The 2018 share offer

The Directors have identified two initial requirements to accelerate further the development of the project, to be funded by this Share Offer and potentially new loans.

  1. Infrastructure - Stockwood has two priority areas of investment to improve the infrastructure: IT systems and the sewer system. This will ensure the buisness park remains an attractive place to work, and lays the groundwork for future projects like an education centre and kindergarten.
  2. Renewable Energy -The next phase in the renewable energy programme plans to develop wind power and expand solar power, with improvements to the existing heating/cooling system.
  3. Community Ownership - The saved resources from upgrading the IT infrastructure and the development of renewable energy projects will be directed to the pursuit of greater social and environmental impact, and provide greater long term security to Stockwood. Oversubscription of the offer will allow further development of infrastructure.

Rush Farm and Stockwood Business Park

Rush Farm is a beautiful mixed farm in Stock Wood, Worcestershire. It has 22 acres of woodland and many and varied, riverbank, wetland, wild, sheltered and open wildlife habitats. Rush Farm is certified as biodynamic by Demeter and as organic by the Soil Association.

While only some 25 acres of the farm is classified as permanent pasture, working to a nine year rotation pattern, all but 20 acres or so of the rest is a rich clover, herb and grass mix. This provides sufficient grass for the flock of Lleyn sheep and herd of Traditional Hereford cattle to graze on. It is also cut to make hay or haylage which is then fed to the cattle during the winter. Cereal crops are grown as part of the rotation to provide straw bedding for the cattle during the winter while the sale of the grain provides some welcome income.

Rush Farm is well known locally as the location for the writing and recording of some of the early episodes of Radio 4's The Archers. The model for the Archer's pub, 'The Bull' is just down the road in Inkberrow.

Stockwood Business Park offers office and workshop units to local and environmental businesses, and produces further income to support the farm.

Stockwood Community Benefit Society is aiming to raise £550,000 to further develop infrastructure and renewable energy systems, as well as bringing more of the project into community ownership.

Stockwood Business Park and Rush Farm are located approximately 15 miles from Worcester in the west, Redditch in the north and Stratford upon Avon in the east.

Future plans

Stockwood CBS is demonstrating a new way of working on and alongside the land by creating a model for future rural economic and environmental regeneration. It supports and improves the social and natural environment by:

  • Providing places of work in an harmonious setting and to the highest ecological standard.
  • Actively increasing and improving the social impacts generated by its tenant businesses.
  • Using and promoting ‘natural’, ethical methods and principles of agriculture, horticulture, education and business.
  • Staging a wide range of local trade events, farm events and training courses in sustainable business practices and in a rural environment.
  • Providing free, welcoming and well-managed footpaths, bridle paths and permissive routes through the Farm, woodland and river banks of the Estate.
  • Disseminating the research and best practice in agricultural and horticultural land trusteeship developed by Stockwood Community Benefit Society.

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