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It's our Birthday!

A month of birthdays! March marks three years since Olive’s Tipi and one year since the hatch opened on the cafe for the first time. Here’s a quick look back at everything that’s happened in that time, and the couple of years before too.

May 2018 - Christine, Charlie’s grandmother passed away, leaving the farmhouse empty and the future of the farm uncertain.

October 2018 - after many visits and deliberations, Em & Charlie committed to moving to the farm, with the potential to open the gym and some extra new businesses to supplement and support the agricultural side of things. A year of building works and house renovations ensued.

December 2019 - Em & Charlie moved in, hosting the family Christmas celebrations.

March 2020 - an eventful month...Em & Charlie were still working full time in London at this point. Within the space of 10 days we found out Em was pregnant with Olive, Charlie handed his notice in on his London job to allow more time to focus on building The Barn and the country was plunged into the first Covid Lockdown! 

June 2020 - after months of filling skips and clearing out spaces, the first positive step in the creation of The Barn KT9 arrived when we had the screed poured in what is now  the gym. This barn had previously been used as a dairy, straw storage, stables, car storage and even filled with tanks of live trout in the 90s when The Game Larder was in operation from what is now the reception and co-working area. 

July 2020 - in and out of Covid restrictions, Em was finally able to start training clients, initially 1-on-1 Personal Training as well as some small group classes which started from September, subject to social distancing and mainly outdoors. At this stage the gym didn’t have windows, a loo or even any lights, but it was a start!

August 2020 - with nearly everything else not allowed due to Covid, and nobody allowed to travel anywhere, we took some tentative steps towards creating a campsite. In the field where the cafe now sits, we collaborated with another local business to rent some bell tents and portaloos, and created a basic but popular little campsite. We had no idea if we’d like having camping here, but this little trial was the proof of concept we needed to build on for future years.

November 2020 - Olive arrived in the world on the 27th, days before the tiered winter lockdown was introduced, which ended up running for nearly 4 months.

March 2021 -  one of the first things allowed in the staggered relaxation of the winter lockdown was outdoor baby classes. You couldn’t go to the pub, airport or shops, but an outdoor baby class? We had a 4 month old baby who had zero socialisation to that point, so we were desperate for her to start having some normality in her life, and we thought plenty more parents with babies would be too. A couple of phone calls later, and Olive’s Tipi was born.  A month long pop up in a 10 metre tipi, with a timetable full of baby classes, first aid courses, nutrition workshops, yoga and gym classes. With two of the sides open, the structure was classed as outdoors. The final piece of the jigsaw for the tipi was the one thing that all new mums desperately need, coffee, which went from a one day pop up to a week, a month and ultimately two years before the full opening of the cafe.

April 2021 - to round off the Tipi (and help to pay for it!) we hosted Fire & Feast with top chef, Dan Britten. Two nights of 40 covers enjoying a meal cooked over fire was a huge hit. 

May 2021 - the gym was allowed to open in full with normal class sizes and a small but growing timetable. Tori was our first new instructor to join Em in taking classes, with  Gemma following soon after. We also had Doughboyz here for their first Tuesday slot. Would people be willing to walk and cycle to the middle of nowhere to enjoy a pizza? Surely not. Within a couple of weeks, they were selling out every Tuesday night, and continued to do so through the summers of 2022 and 2023 as well, with more to come in 2024.

July 2021 - Ollie & Elliot from The Human Programme built the stage for their iconic ice bath and started to host monthly day retreats in the hangar. We also had our first evening event in the hangar, with a local friend hosting his 40th celebrations here.

October 2021 - free from covid restrictions, and full of learnings from Fire & Feast I, we hosted Fire & Feast 2 with Dan Britten. Friday night, Saturday Lunch, Saturday Dinner and Sunday Lunch all sold out with 110 guests enjoying each sitting. We had live music and some beautiful floristry all from other local friends and businesses. 

December 2021 - rumours of a cool new venue for foodie events had emerged and the guys from Poor Boys in Kingston had caught wind. The Poor Boys Winter Festival ran at weekends in the lead up to Christmas, with the finest flavours from the deep south, 100 tickets sold per night with DJs, drinking games and all sorts of fun making it a roaring success, leading to a repeat in December 2022 as well. 

February 2022 - a few weeks (or more likely months) behind schedule, we were able to unveil our new showers, toilets and changing rooms in the gym, making everything feel a lot more civilised and functional.

April 2022 - we were granted our premises licence, which allowed us to start selling beers to campers and people coming to the cafe. It also provided a framework for us to work around for evening events which meant we could start to plan for the future and knew what we could say yes to with enquiries for 2024 and beyond already coming in. 

June 2022 - Max & Lily, two incredibly brave people, held their wedding here in the hangar, and it was a roaring success. The sun shone, everyone had a great time and we found ourselves with an inbox full of requests for more of the same. A further 10 wedding receptions followed across 2022 and 2023, with the final 2 in the current setup coming in summer 2024.

November 2022 - Traction, our first outdoor bootcamp style class began in the hangar with Laura. It was a chance to have multiple classes at once, while making the most of exercising outdoors, taking inspiration from the farm. MFT (Modified Farmer Training) followed in summer 2023, inspired by modified strongman training combined with the farm’s heritage.

March 2023 - We opened the hatch on the Cafe at The Barn KT9 for the first time on March 1st, with Jaimee becoming our first ever full time employee, soon to be joined by Kata in May 2023.

July 2023 - Our first Friday Night at the Barn with James Dean on music duty and Hungry Boys Kitchen knocking out over 200 burgers, a winning formula.

September 2023 - We were shortlisted for Large Diversification of the Year at the British Farming Awards, and went to the NEC in Birmingham for the ceremony. 

The rest of 2023 was all about consolidation and consistency. The Gym, Cafe, Campsite and Event Space were all now fairly well established, and once we found out about the incoming twins at a scan in August 2023, the focus was to get the business into a place where it could function fully without us. 

And now here we are… 3 months into 2024 and celebrating 3 years of The Barn KT9.

Thank you for all your incredible support over the years!

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