We grow top quality strawberries, we normally pick our fruit between April and November each year but we cannot harvest our fruit without good pickers. While you may be on a working holiday, we are not a holiday camp and expect all of our employees to work hard. However, life is not about all work and no play: we provide you with excellent leisure and recreation facilities.
Every year we employ about 300 seasonal workers, who come from 3 different countries, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland. We can only employ workers who have the right to work in the UK. Some employees are invited back for another season having proved themselves in the previous season to be reliable and hard working individuals. The returnees in turn set an example for new workers with regards to work practice and life in England.
All of our production is now grown in substrate and on table tops. This allows us to precisely monitor and control the growing conditions and most importantly allows easy access for picking the fruit. This speeds up the process and eliminates all bending over to pick the crop, ensuring a great working environment for all.
About the work
Most of the work will be picking fruit by hand in covered tunnels, which provide protection from wind and weather. Once the fruit is picked it is checked for quality on the field and then transported to our pack house and put into our big fridge within 2 hours of being picked. This ensures our high quality standards are maintained.
The work is very hard and involves much bending, twisting and lifting so you will need to have good physical fitness.
You will work in a team of up to 50 people. In addition to picking fruit, there are other tasks such as tunnel construction, irrigation installation, maintenance, husbandry and general production work that has to be undertaken throughout the year.
Hours of work
We normally work a five or six day week for no more than 8 hours per day. The hours you will work each day is determined by crop, weather and customer demand. Your harvest manager decides on the length of the working day and no harvesting takes place unless the field assistants are present.
The majority of the work on our farm is paid on a piecework basis. Piecework means you get paid for every kilogramme of fruit that you pick. The harder you work the more you will be paid. This system means that you could earn more than the UK minimum hourly rate of pay as determined by the UK agricultural wages board.
We recommend that you open a bank account in your own country before leaving so that you can arrange credit transfers direct to that account whilst you are in the UK.When you arrive at the farm you will be issued pre-paid Barclaycard which will enable you to withdraw your money from the bank`s cash machine and pay in the shops.The UK bank system is very safe and secure. Wages are normally paid directly into your bank account once a week or when you leave the farm, or on request.
We can accommodate up to 350 employees in mobile homes on two campsites on the farm. While you will share a mobile home with other men and women, your bedroom will be separate. We expect you to buy, prepare and cook your own meals including making sandwiches etc. and drinks to be eaten and drunk during work. Each mobile home has a kitchen which is equipped with a cooker, refrigerator, freezer compartment and a sink. All cooking and eating utensils are provided. Showers, washing facilities, washing machines are also available.
Leisure facilities are provided. Each campsite has Broadband Internet access, a TV set, football and volleyball pitches and a small gym.
We organise trips to theme parks, historic towns and cities and to the seaside at the weekends depending on work and weather conditions. We will organise trips to most requested location which may include:
- Alton Towers
- Warwick castle
It will cost approx £6 per person, per trip (this may vary depending on the distance of the trip and entry ticket price.
There is good public transport to nearby towns where there are swimming pools, libraries and gymnasiums. The local pubs are a good meeting place and many offer excellent meals.
Homme Farm is located about 2 miles (± 3.2 kilometres) from Ross-on-Wye. It takes about 35-45 minutes to walk to Ross.
By taxi it takes 5 minutes at a cost of between £5-£6.
There are several supermarkets and shops, a chemist, a post office, library, banks and pubs.
In Ross there is a swimming pool, a gym, tennis courts, pool club.
There is also a nightclub.
If you would like to visit larger cities such as Hereford or Gloucester there are buses running throughout the day. From Hereford/Gloucester buses and trains are available to travel to the rest of the UK
If you have any health problems or you need an appointment to see a doctor or dentist please go to see the campsite manager and he will organise it for you immediately. In emergency please call 999.
Broadband Internet access is available at both campsites.
There is no public telephone on the farm and nearest phone box is in Ross town centre.
What to bring
Below is a list of some essential items that you should bring with you to make your stay with us a happy and comfortable one:
- Warm sleeping Bag
British nights can be cold. Clothing and footwear suitable for the seasons you plan to be in the UK. See above – don’t forget clothing and footwear for work (wet weather gear and Wellingtons).
- Towel and wash bag.
- Passport, and visa (for some nationals).
You are advised to take 2 photocopies of your passport (the page showing the passport number and your personal detail) and to leave one copy with your next of kin and have the other with you (kept separately from your passport). This is in case your passport is lost or stolen and will be helpful when getting it replaced.
- UK Visa or SWP workcard (If applicable) – We can only employ workers with the right to work in the UK.
- ID Card – identification of which should be a national identity card.
- Money – approx £100
- Full details of insurance (in English Language) including the emergency contact number and the full name and address of the company providing this insurance.
- Driving licence. An International Driving Licence is useful particularly for drivers whose licence is printed in a non-European alphabet or is not valid in the UK. It is not possible for overseas nationals to obtain an International Licence in the UK – you must do this at home.
- Driving Licence Proof of endorsement i.e CDP certificate or minibus licence etc (if applicable)
- Photographs of people and places of home that are special to you can help ease homesickness and make you feel more at home.
- Books, posters, CD-s, tapes etc.
- Make sure you can carry your own luggage for up to 500 meters. You may have to do this!
- Your carry-on/hand luggage should include enough personal articles to last for your first night in the UK (clean underwear, warm jacket, toothbrush, and medication etc). This is just in case your luggage is delayed in transit.
- DON’T pack fresh food. HM Customs and the port of entry may confiscate it. Make sure your luggage is clearly labelled in English with your name and the office telephone number of the farm you are travelling to.
- English – Your language dictionary to help you when travelling.
Recruitment & charges
A FACILITY charge per day for the mobile home will be charged.
We require a £50 refundable deposit for the mobile home and this is returned to workers when you leave providing there has been no damage to accommodation or any other farm equipment, and our facilities have not been left in an untidy or dirty condition.
A launderette is provided and this is coin operated and you pay for each time you use a machine
If you fall ill or suffer an accident, you must report this to the campsite manager or field assistant and trained first-aiders will administer first aid treatment or seek medical attention as appropriate. For food hygiene and health and safety reasons workers cannot work with a contagious condition.
Health and safety
Your health and safety is your own responsibility you will have an obligation to take all reasonable steps to safeguard both yourself and all others on the farm.
However, we accept responsibility for providing safe systems, a safe workforce and a workplace that is safe to work in and will take every precaution to provide a safe environment in which to work.
Deliberate actions that result in risk to yourself and others will not be tolerated and appropriate action will be taken and, failure to report danger, or continued use of a dangerous process, will be judged as gross misconduct and may result in your instant dismissal.
You will be required to read the Farm Health and Safety Declaration. This is always posted on the campsite notice board, and must always adhere to it’s content.
On arrival you will be given induction training that will cover all aspects of health and safety and fire regulations.
There will be certain tasks that you will be banned from doing unless you received specialist training and have the express permission of the management to do them.
We will provide you with all safety equipment where necessary and this must be worn at all times. You must follow and adhere to all farm signage and rules.
It is very important to us to keep our workers happy and safe whilst staying here.
All personal possessions will be kept in your shared mobile home. We suggest that you do not bring items of high value with you, as we cannot accept responsibility for lost or stolen items.
Discipline must be maintained within our large workforce at all times and we reserve the right to dismiss any employee who is guilty of serious misconduct or who fails to adhere to our rules and procedures.
WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO INSTANTLY DISMISS ANY WORKER GUILTY OF GROSS MISCONDUCT, CRIMINAL OR THREATENING BEHAVIOUR.