Wellbeing Farm in Edgworth nominated for 'farming Oscar'

The Bolton News: Cutting the sausage ‘ribbon’ are Mark Tiani, Stephen Whitehead, Celia Gaze and Jamie Clarke Cutting the sausage ‘ribbon’ are Mark Tiani, Stephen Whitehead, Celia Gaze and Jamie Clarke

AN eco-friendly Edgworth farm has been nominated for a “farming Oscar”.

Wellbeing Farm in Plantation Road has been shortlisted in the start-up category in the Countryside Alliance’s North West awards.

Members of the judging panel will visit the farm set up by former NHS high-flyer turned stress management guru Celia Gaze before the result is announced in March.

Wellbeing will be up against three other farms — one in Hoghton, near Preston, and others in Kendal and Lancaster.

Ms Gaze, aged 43, and her 45-year-old partner Stephen Whitehead — who also runs the local butcher’s shop — have already received Gold Tourism status from the Green Business Scheme and the accolade of Best Use of Local Produce at the British Cooker School awards after only eight months of operating.

The couple have invested more than £500,000 into turning the farm into a venue for business events, such as away days, team-building and conferences in a stress-free environment.

They have also launched a concept of an Apprentice-style competition and bake-off days for companies.

Mr Whitehead had been running the 128-year-old farm before the couple came up with the idea of exploiting its stunning surroundings.

Mrs Gaze came north eight years ago and was a senior manager for Bolton Hospital Trust. “I went off with work-related stress. It was then that I started to train in stress management and I have used that knowledge in the design of the farm.”

Wellbeing is totally green business and £100,00 of the investment came from the European Union’s Rural Development Programme for England.

“A wind turbine provides us with all our power and we don’t throw away anything without thinking whether it can be recycled or composted,” she said.

Wellbeing also keeps llamas, donkeys, pigs, sheep, geese, ducks, quail, guinea fowl, rabbits, free range chickens and pheasants.

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