As described on their website:
'At the Severn Project we aim to empower individuals and communities by providing authentic training, education and employment opportunities. It may be ambitious, but we believe in what we do – and as the business grows, so does our impact.'
The project aims to:
'1) Empower individuals
At the Severn Project we have a theory about growing food being good for the soul. Using an innovative model we support people recovering from drug and alcohol misuse, people with poor mental health and those with offending backgrounds to go back to work. This involves a number of different levels of engagement – volunteering, education and training at NVQ level 1 at City of Bristol College and a type of apprenticeship at NVQ level 2 with partner organisation Bridgwater College. By providing long-term structure and support the Severn Project is designed as an alternative to the cycle of treatment and relapse, which can result in a collapse of hope and self-belief. We strongly believe people who come to work with us should decide their own pathway to recovery and be given the opportunity to become satellite growers once the apprenticeship programme is successfully completed, with the Severn Project's support.
2) Empower communities
Our two urban farms give around 8.5 acres of previously disused land a new purpose and contribute to wildlife and biodiversity, provide a local food source (reducing carbon emissions) and support the local economy. We also operate as a hub for other growers, including satellite growers Leyhill Prison and Bristol based Petals Plus, Grow Bristol and Luscious Leaves. The hub is being developed (with Equilibrium Markets taking care of the retail side of things) to help individuals and organisations become satellite growers, offering access to land and equipment, machinery and storage, marketing, administrative and business support, collective buying power and to provide a sales and distribution route to market. If you would like to become a satellite grower please get in touch.
3) Generate revenue
In 2010 the Severn Project started from scratch – with a huge vision and only a couple of books on organic growing. Now, we supply to 80 customers in Bristol on a weekly basis and we have established strong supportive relationships with our satellite growers. As our business grows, so does our impact, which is why we invest money we make back into the project, helping to provide more opportunities to support people facing barriers in the workplace. Plans for the future include consolidating our Hub for local growers, a farm shop and café at our Whitchurch site, a Community Shares Issue and a residential programme which bridges the gap between treatment for substance misuse and the workplace.'