We did it
On 28th June 2022 we successfully raised £15,025 ( + est. £607.50 Gift Aid ) with 194 supporters in 42 days

Filling GAPS for those that don't fit in education, activity or employment in mainstream provision

by Gemma Mugridge in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

This would enable us to have facilities that are completely accessible to all as many of our attendees are wheelchair users, have reduced mobility, or  cannot use normal toiletry facilities and therefore remain at home, isolated and excluded through disability and not choice. It will enable the range of activity to be extended, inspiring talent and skills to be discovered. Self belief and confidence to grow, along with independence which creates a personal pathway to a brighter future. Attendees will be involved in greater things connected to nature, Climate Change and Biodiversity so they can learn and be part of making the future for everyone brighter. Changing lives in nature is proven to work and reduce anxiety and improve mental health. Our project can expand to reach more isolated and excluded, disadvantaged people who are approaching us already and we cannot stretch to include more people as we are. Our green setting is relaxed and perfect as a natural holistic base with an active land management plan for improving the acreage. Additionally, coaches who are experienced in moving people forwards in their lives. Our track record has proven, everyone can achieve something. 

As a growing group of volunteers whose team have been extended by a few paid long term unemployed disabled people we have worked tirelessly for the past five years to self fund and fund raise to expand our project. Covid set us back, the same as many others however we used the time to develop and commence home deliveries of plants to isolated people and continued to grow identifying new people every week. We have NEVER sought funding because we didn't want to be governed by grants/targets/barriers/time limits ......when people come to us ...they can participate for as long as they want and need .......they are not signposted ........we seek professionals to support all of our participants where we are not able. Extra funding will enable our project to include more challenging activity, increase our reach, allow us to support more people that have been left behind and failed. Network with more professionals who would  donate their time, enabling support quicker and reducing impacts on mainstream services. 

It will also enable us to have mains electric and mains water on our site


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Why is there a need?

Some parts of Society forget Not everyone can Touch, See, Hear, Smell, Taste - Everyone has different reactions, thoughts, opinions, views, capability, choice, beliefs, backgrounds, feelings, barriers or restrictions.     

We were inspired to create a care farm where activities are structured, purposeful, and empowering. This allows opportunities for developing new skills and improving capability. The activities encourage communication, sharing, and development for everyone involved. The animal and horticulture activities form direct links to human day-to-day needs, like cooking and cleaning, and help tackle the inequality vulnerable people face, in the lack of access to green space. This strengthens the understanding and hope for growth and independence in a friendly, relaxed but safe environment. People with disabilities and long term health problems DO NOT have an equal access to facilities in nature and this was researched and recorded throughout the Covid epidemic.

Our Environmental Ecology plan commissioned in 2021, predicts our intervention and planting will attract over 300 new species to the area and increase biodiversity

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Who are we?

Our Charity was created in 2019 after 2 years spent supporting vulnerable people in various community settings by using craft, cooking and horticulture. We have been based in Horfield, Kingswood, Staple Hill and Cadbury Heath, where we implemented community projects and included people with multiple disabilities, social care participants, those with long term health conditions and mental health and well-being needs who struggle to access mainstream facilities because of the lack of opportunity or dedicated support. Sadly, adults and children who don't fit the norm and need different facilities/access/space simply, get left behind. Many of our volunteers have long careers in Government departments and have collated their knowledge and experience to create a unique project. Our values are embedded in Equality and Diversity to target the difficulties faced by vulnerable people associated with mental health, well-being and self-development.

1652801464_9df47c5d-1109-4cbe-9caa-acb77722aef8.jpegWhy did we listen and create?                                              Throughout the past few years, we have gathered views from participants and referrals and sought to adapt our offering to meet individual need. We feel it is imperative to offer a warm, friendly, fun atmosphere whilst maintaining activity that is both meaningful and purposeful. We gratefully accept feedback after each session, and use this to guide us going forward, and we quickly learn what works for those that attend. The local community are very supportive of us, and we get many offers from them to volunteer on the farm. Three groups from Aviva have volunteered and worked with us during 2021 and another group is volunteering in June 2022.

1652801654_star_hurdle_making.jpgWhat do we need?                                                                   We want to offer innovative projects that enable people to move forward. To do that, we need ergonomic tools with easy grip handles, pathways for wheelchair users so they can access the animals and our sensory area, raised beds for gardening for people with back injuries, wildlife camera's to record activities in nature to share with people who are housebound, a disabled toilet so welfare facilities are accessible, willow canes to help in the recovery of people with brain injury, forestry tools for disabled children to participate in a forestry school, perching stools for people who have difficulty standing, shelters for the growing areas, our list could be endless. Every person is unique and has different needs from the tools they use, to how they are able to use them and where they can work. However each and every donation will enable marginalised individuals to be engaged, feel part of something worthwhile and gain more independence.                                                          

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Feedback from users ..............

A 23 year old with debilitating ME stated she felt lifted and following her visit felt she had found something to make her life feel more worthwhile

A 55 year old suffering a brain injury commented - he felt relaxed and that he belonged

A 11 year old child with autism had her imagination captured when she created a willow basket

A mother cried as her child with Down Syndrome engaged with the animals and said, she couldn't believe how happy he was and how at ease he was around the animals

A group from a social care organisation were observed laughing and enjoying the experience when walking the goats and large continental rabbits

Most of these people have comprised immune systems and places like the care farm are the only place they visited during lockdown because of their health conditions. 

1652801895_roy_gardening.jpgOur 'youngest' participant, so far, and resident volunteer, proud of belonging and proud of his achievements. Roy loves to tell people about the farm and strides around it with such pride. His smile is never too far from his face and his kindness is emanated.Roy is always ready to take up any task, he has painted, sawn wood, make willow bird feeders, grown plants, walked the goats, fed the chickens and sampled the fresh eggs with his home-made Scotch Eggs.He has a purpose in life now and his health and well being are simply extraordinary for a man in his 70's. Roy has followed us and attended every venue we have operated from and is normally present during every every fund raising event. 

He made a scarecrow back in 2018 which is about to be permanently placed on the farm along with many of his other achievements. His learning disability and diabetes do not deter him and he is a treasure to us!1653125287_scarecrows.jpg

Our beautiful valais blacknose sheep with coats that need shearing twice a year which we intend to wash, spin and use. The sheep love to run alongside you when you visit.1653136462_img_0134.jpg

One of our continental giant rabbits1653136584_img_0214.jpg

One of our very first harvests - the taste was 5*, grow your own and you'll taste the difference!1653137647_first_harvest_.jpg

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