A Taste Of Farming Life For Lowestoft Disability Service

Residents living at a supported housing service in Lowestoft are enjoying spending part of their summer learning about the world of farming, after receiving community funding to work with a local farm.

Staff and residents from Sanctuary Supported Living’s Clover Court, which provides accommodation, care and support for people with physical disabilities, have been visiting Pathways Care Farm, which gives vulnerable people the opportunity to learn through a range of hands-on farming activities. This has included planting, fruit and vegetable cultivation, helping to restore a barn, animal husbandry and even the basics of machinery maintenance.

The course has been made possible thanks to a £2,000 grant from Sanctuary’s Community Investment fund, which provides funding for community initiatives which aim to meet the aspirations of Sanctuary residents, as well as a generous £500 donation from East Suffolk District Councillor, Frank Mortimer. It will run for 12 sessions and is benefitting the residents’ physical and mental health as they have the chance to learn new skills within a therapeutic setting and get to know other members of the community – something which is especially important following the social isolation they experienced during lockdown.

David Perkins, Local Service Manager at Clover Court said: “We support residents to take part in a range of activities, volunteering opportunities and work experience, so that they can build the life skills and confidence they need and live as independently as possible. It has been very difficult for residents to take part in their normal group activities since the start of the pandemic, so they’re very much enjoying getting involved with all the exciting experiences the farm has to offer.”

Geoff Stevens from Pathways Care Farm, in Lowestoft said: “Spending a day, or more, a week at Pathways can have an amazing effect on people’s wellbeing. No matter what farm experiences people have or haven’t had, all are welcome to share in guided activities, hard physical work, teamwork, problem solving and confidence building. We focus on what people can do, not what they can’t and encourage them gradually to stretch themselves and achieve pride in their success”.

 

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