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Land college joins forces with charity to create new Suffolk care farm

PUBLISHED: 10:03 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:03 08 June 2018

Shirley Moore chief executive at The Befriending Scheme addressing guests at the Friends Farm Hub opening Picture: JOHN NICE

Shirley Moore chief executive at The Befriending Scheme addressing guests at the Friends Farm Hub opening Picture: JOHN NICE

John Nice

Easton and Otley College has joined forces with a Suffolk charity to create a new care farm at its Otley campus.

From left, Jane Townsend, principal at Easton and Otley College, and Shirley Moore chief executive at The Befriending Scheme at the Friends Farm Hub opening Picture: JOHN NICEFrom left, Jane Townsend, principal at Easton and Otley College, and Shirley Moore chief executive at The Befriending Scheme at the Friends Farm Hub opening Picture: JOHN NICE

The farm area, which provides skills and opportunities to vulnerable young people and adults, is a joint project with The Befriending Scheme.

Talks between the two organisations began two years ago when the college offered land to the charity. As a result, a new Friends Farm Hub was opened at the annual college big day out event on May 20.

The hub has been created to give vulnerable adults with learning, physical or mental health concerns aged 16-plus a place where they can enjoy the outdoors, learn about animal care and get involved in gardening activities.

The Befriending Scheme chief executive Shirley Moore said: “This exciting project will provide a fantastic new facility for vulnerable students and others in the community. It will be a safe place where they will be accepted as they are and it will be a chance for them to form friendships with others in a relaxed setting.

“As with all our weekly social hubs, we are offering three free visits to anyone who would like to experience spending time at the hub, including college students with additional learning needs. The reason we wanted to create a care farm is because people we work with have been saying to us how much they enjoy being outside and working with animals. Additionally, lots of people who live in care or supported housing aren’t allowed to have pets - therefore they can come here and work with lots of animals outside in the fresh air.”

College spokesperson John Nice said: “We are delighted to be part of this venture. Many of the students will be picking up a range of industry skills that can help them in their future lives. The area has scope to grow and flourish over the next few years and we look forward to working with The Befriending Scheme to help them realise their vision.”

The Farm Hub runs twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays from 10am until 3pm. Animals and facilities include ducks, rabbits, a chicken house, a classroom area and planting zones. Plans to expand the facilities are ongoing.

Visit www.thebefriendingscheme.org.uk or phone 01787 371333 for information.

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