After nearly 8 years of dedicated service in the role, we are sorry to say that Jo is stepping back from her role as Occupational Therapist at the care farm at the end of 2021.
We are actively recruiting for someone to take over this role (not necessarily a qualified OT) and would welcome applications from anyone with suitable knowledge and experience. (see our latest post for more information)
Wick Care Farm began in 2014 as an enterprise within Wick Grange Farm. It had its own bank account and any money raised would be used solely for projects that would benefit the work of the Care Farm community. The Care Farm became a separate enterprise 2 years later and now it has officially become a social enterprise - a community interest company: Wick Care Farm CIC.
This means that it is a not-for-profit enterprise where all activities are carried out to benefit the community and all monies are used to support the Care Farm in this objective.
What do our clients do?
Clients can get involved in a range of different tasks including:
- Caring for animals - chickens, geese, duck, pigs and sheep / lambs
- Horticulture - sowing, potting on and planting, watering, weeding, making compost
- Cooking - harvesting and making lunch, making cakes, jams and chutneys and cordials
- Conservation tasks - feeding wild birds, creating woodpiles, planting wildflowers and making birdboxes
- General maintenance tasks - building raised beds, fencing, making shelves and signs
- Rural crafts
- Walking - with or without the dogs!
- Gaining a sense of purpose and achievement
- Feeling valued, respected and appreciated
- Opportunities for social interaction and confidential discussion
- Developing skills and independence
- Promoting recovery from illness / trauma
- Providing a break for carers
Who is Care Farming suitable for?
Wick Care Farm is open to adults and young people (11yrs +) who could benefit from attending. This would include people who are living with:
- mental health issues
- complex educational needs
- learning difficulties
- other support needs
Education - An Alternative Curriculum
Wick Care Farm aims to provide students with a safe, secure, predictable and nurturing environment. Activities provide opportunities for them to learn to cope with relationships with their peers and to work together on tasks safely. These activities are enjoyable and fun and should help improve their self-esteem through success. When working with animals, students have to learn to control their emotions such as fear and frustration. They experience the importance of being kind, calm, and confident in order to achieve success.
What do we offer?
A therapeutic, safe environment where confidentiality, equality and diversity, and health and safety are paramount
- A structured daily routine
- Varied tasks according to ability and choice
- Goal planning and progress reviews
- Long term or fixed term placements
- Group and individual supervision and support
- An alternative curriculum for school aged students
- Placements for Occupational Therapy students
- Encouragement and facilitation to succeed, achieve and to challenge themselves
- A place where personal development comes before productivity.
The Care Farm Facilities
- Level access to 2 large meeting rooms including a kitchen
- Small flock of Jacob sheep, geese, ducks, chickens and sometimes a couple of pigs
- Polytunnel and greenhouse
- Raised beds
- Vegetable garden
- Enclosed yard
- Access to 240 acres of farmland
There are jobs to be done all over the whole farm. When appropriate, we work on the main farm. For example, feeding birds along the track or in a field of bird cover.
What is the referral process and cost?
Referrals can be made either by individuals or through the mental health or learning disability services.
The referral process usually starts with an initial 45 minute visit, where the client is accompanied by a health professional or appropriate adult and their interests and needs are discussed. If the client feels they would like to attend regularly, and we think we are able to meet their needs, they are invited to come to the CF for two consecutive sessions. This gives the client the opportunity to see if they would like to attend regularly and for the CF staff to determine their support needs in this environment.
The cost of attending will depend on the individual's level of need and hours of attendance.
To make a referral or ask for more information, contact either Isobel Meikle or Jo Ballin
Timing of Sessions
Monday, Tuesday, Thursdays and Friday session times 10.00 am - 3.00 pm
Wednesday sessions for young people:10.00 am - 3.00pm
Our volunteers are highly valued. Volunteers are welcomed for whatever practical or personal skills they can offer. Depending upon experience and skills, volunteers can work alone, within a group or with other co-workers. Our activities range from gardening, cooking, animal husbandry, general maintenance, woodwork and crafts, to giving support and encouragement to individuals as they go through the day.
If you are interested in working as a volunteer please contact us by e-mail including your details and any interests that you think would be helpful. We will contact you and ask you to visit us for a look round and a chat.
We have been very grateful for the donations we have received. They have made a great difference to the activities we are able to deliver.
Physical donations are appreciated and we could not have managed without the generous donations of a few important items. We are particularly looking for some timber for raised beds, gardening tools e.g. spades, forks and hoes, compost bins, hardware items and cooking implements. We are also need spare wellington boots, waterproof trousers, working boots of all sizes. Many of the children / adults cannot afford to buy such items and arrive at the farm ill equipped. If you have any items you would like to donate, please get in touch.