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Volunteering at Horton Community Farm

Explainer Emily talks about the volunteering museum staff have been doing as part of our Sound and Vision project.

You may know about our new Sound and Vision galleries opening in 2025, but did you know the project is about more than that?

A key part of the Sound and Vision project is all about connecting with our local communities in Bradford. We’re working closely with community groups across the district and delivering updates through Bradford Community Broadcasting (BCB), the local radio station. We also want to truly connect with our communities and give back—and that’s where Community Connections comes in.

Community Connections is a volunteer programme for museum staff, allowing us to volunteer with Bradford organisations. The programme will help us to understand local organisations and make a difference in the community on a deeper level than before.

One organisation we recently volunteered with is Horton Community Farm. This is a two-acre urban green space at Cecil Avenue Allotments in BD7. In 2009 a group of volunteers came together to transform the abandoned allotments. Now they have grown into a not-for-profit cooperative, meaning any money earned by the organisation goes right back into the project. They have a programme of activities that focuses on environmental education, gardening for wellbeing, wildlife, urban food growing and volunteering.

A small group of people dig over a patch of land next to a polytunnel
Museum staff digging over the ground to prepare for planting.

Their volunteering is where we came in. Earlier this month a small group from the museum spent the day at Horton Community Farm, helping maintain and improve the site to support them in continuing their core programme. The day involved many practical tasks, including preparing a new part of the ground which will allow the planting of corn. This was the big main task that everyone helped with to start out, and most of us continued to work on it until the end of the day.

A small group of people with trowels kneeling to plant potatoes in a polytunnel
Museum staff planting potatoes.

There were also other smaller tasks, like trimming the grass that had grown too long around the climbing rocks to make it safer for children to play there. Some stronger members of the group helped to remove a log which would have been in the way of a new fence that needed building, while others were shown how to relocate daffodils or plant potatoes.

Two people working on a freshly dug patch of earth
Two museum colleagues finishing work on the newly prepared ground.

It was amazing to see how much we had achieved in such a short amount of time, and to know that so many members of the community would benefit from the work we had put in. It was a fantastic opportunity to connect with Horton Community Farm and work with colleagues from across the museum.

A smiling group of people in outdoor clothes at an allotment
Our museum colleagues happy to be at Horton Community Farm.

We had a great time at Horton Community Farm, and we’re looking forward to volunteering with more people in Bradford in the future.

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