Dumfries and Galloway MP Richard Arkless, this week visited Loch Arthur Creamery and Farm Shop to meet the community of people who live and work there and sample some of the delicious organic food they have on offer.
Loch Arthur is a social enterprise inclusive of people with learning disabilities and committed to creating meaningful work. 75 people now live in Loch Arthur households, 30 in supported tenancies, and the 500 acre farm is home to a bakery, veg garden, wood and weaving workshops and a creamery. All of the activity at Loch Arthur is geared towards making the lives of their disabled residents better, and Richard said ‘they do this fantastically well’.
‘Loch Arthur has achieved the highest standards of excellence in organic food production and all the people who work there have an awful lot to feel proud of. Having spoken to some of the residents who live there it’s clear that Loch Arthur makes a real difference to people’s lives ”
‘I enjoyed chatting with everyone I met – the community of Loch Arthur is so inspiring and the working ethos there has lead them to achieve huge success. The shop makes or grows all the major food lines that is sells, their organic cheese is now available throughout the UK and has won accolades and awards that recognise its high quality and unique flavour.’
‘The community is supported by a team of volunteers, interestingly 18 out of 20 of these volunteers come from other EU countries. I didn’t expect to visit Loch Arthur to discuss the consequences of Brexit but that was top of everyone’s list – will there still be free movement? will we be allowed to stay? – it was concerning to hear just how afraid the volunteers were.
‘There is still so much uncertainty surrounding Brexit but I tried to reassure everyone that I would do everything I possibly could to protect the rights of EU national’s living and working in Dumfries and Galloway – it saddened me enormously to see such uncertainty brought to such a positive and vibrant place and I hope they will have some reassurance from the government soon.’
‘Loch Arthur is a truly wonderful place and I would encourage everyone to visit and sample the delicious, locally produced food they have available there. I will be keeping in touch with the people I met today and will be supporting them in any way that I can.’