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Salisbury therapeutic farm set for bright future

Salisbury therapeutic farm set for bright future

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 7:00am 29th December 2019.

3 minute read

Work's started to relocate Able Hands Together to a site in Stoford in the New Year.

The farm, which supports adults with learning disabilities, has been based at the Riverbourne Community Farm in Laverstock for the last three years.

But a big increase in demand for their services means they need to move to a new, more secure site.

Able Hands Together Laverstock December 2019
The Laverstock site has served Able Hands Together well, but it's time to move on

The land at Little Wishford farm has been gifted to the Community Interest Company.

A new barn is being built on site at the moment, as a base for Able Hands to work from.

WHAT DOES ABLE HANDS DO? 

They provide support for adults with learning disabilities to take part in 'meaningful activity and have a practical daily structure'.

Those who use the service are described as 'co-farmers' - working with the animals, tending the land and constructing things like pens and fencing for the farm.

Able Hands Together has co-farmers in with them Monday to Friday, with each of them paying for their places out of their Personal Independence Payments.

Able Hands Together Laverstock December 2019
The chicken shed at Able Hands was put in thanks to a grant from Salisbury City Council

The farm has had support through crowdfunding and grants from Salisbury City Council, with applications in for Area Board funding from Wiltshire Council too.

They've also just been granted 'alternative education status' in Wiltshire, recognising their work with vulnerable adults.

Carl Anderson is one of the support workers at Able Hands, and says having the co-farmers in to work on the land is really rewarding:

"I think it's (all about) seeing the guys develop, their confidence coming along and getting more involved and more independent with their jobs and their personal life."

Able Hands Together Laverstock December 2019
The goats at Able Hands are named after Dawn Breakers, the Andover fitness group that fundraised to purchase them for the farm

WHY MOVE?

The Stoford site will provide plenty of spaces for the co-farmers and their animals, including pygmy goats Dawn and Breaker; chickens; rabbits; guinea pigs; and ducks.

Part of the reason behind the move is a recent increase in thefts and criminal damage at the Laverstock site.

Able Hands Together Laverstock December 2019
Sadly, the pigs won't be able to move to the new Able Hands Together

It's hoped the new farm will be safer, with a transition period needed to help the co-farmers feel comfortable with the change.

Support worker Nic Shears-White says that process has begun:

"We're going to have to manage that transition really well. We've started to have people going over to the farm to have a look and start getting a feel for the place. We're hoping that it's going to provide a lot more opportunities for the guys.

"Hopefully it will be a lot safer as well. Unfortunately, we've had a lot of break-ins here, as it's a bit isolated."

It's hoped they'll be able to move to Stoford in the coming weeks.

You can find out more on the Able Hands Together website

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