We are hiring!

Job Title:  Co-ordinator of Therapeutic Activities

Location: Wick Grange Farm, Owletts Lane, Wick, Pershore, WR10 3PB. 

Hours: 16/24 hours across 2/3 days – to be agreed on employment)

Salary: £20,800 pa pro rata (£10 per hour).

Contract: Part-time, Permanent

We are recruiting for a Care Farm Co-ordinator of Therapeutic Activities. We need an individual, preferably with a diverse skill set, who is committed to empowering people through outdoor activity. Our dynamic team, many of whom are volunteers, works with young people, adults and older people who have a variety of health and support needs including mental health issues, dementia, autism and learning difficulties. A cheerful, creative, patient and enthusiastic approach is essential

This is an exciting opportunity for someone who is passionate about the outdoors and wants to work in an alternative environment, where it is possible to use and develop their skills supporting individuals over a long period of time and make a difference to their lives. 

This job would suit a qualified Occupational Therapist or other suitably qualified and experienced person who is interested in using an outdoor setting as a therapeutic environment to work with people who have a variety of support needs.

 We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and encourage applications from qualified candidates from a wide range of backgrounds.

Summary of role:

This role is responsible for co-ordinating the assessment, goal planning, activity planning, monitoring, and reviews for all clients. They will liaise, as closely as possible, with the client, Wick Care Farm team, outside professionals, family members and/or significant others.

They will be responsible, alongside the rest of the staff team, for providing practical and emotional support to clients and empower them to achieve their goals.

Specific requirements for the role:

  • A qualification suitable for this therapeutic role
  • Knowledge and experience of working with diverse groups, including individuals with mental health, dementia, autism and / or complex needs
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to help build networks and establish partnerships
  • Confidence, fitness and enthusiasm for working outdoors with animals and horticulture and using hand tools. 
  • Active listening skills and awareness of professional codes of conduct including confidentiality 
  • Due to the nature of the work, the post will be subject to an enhanced DBS check

To apply:

If you would like to apply, we’d love to hear from you. For a full job description, please email info@wickgrange.co.uk to ask for an application pack. You can also view the listing at
https://uk.indeed.com/m/viewjob?jk=f60b925b915eb49e&from=native

Closing date for applications is 6 December 2021.

Spring has Sprung in 2021

Groups

Spring has sprung and at long last we are seeing some weather warm enough for our groups to take coffee breaks in the Care Farm yard.  The grass has started to grow but thankfully one of our clients is an enthusiastic mower and loves keeping the lawn neat and tidy for the rest of us to enjoy. Our groups are running Monday to Friday with only a couple of spaces available for new referrals. We have recently been excited to welcome back some of our fabulous longstanding volunteers and are pleased to also have a newcomer to the team.

Animals

Our 7 Jacob ewes now have 17 lambs between them. Mums and babies are all doing well and give our groups a lot of pleasure. Cherry successfully delivered quads so we are helping out by bottle feeding her lambs twice a day.

Rosebud had twins boys called Cleggy and Compo. Compo was a slow starter and not strong enough to stay with mum so is being hand reared. He was living the life of Riley; spending his nights having sleepovers with his “nurse” and friend Bertie the dog, and his days (once he was on his feet) in the field with his brother and “cousins”. He now lives out with the flock but loves his humans and is straight over for a bit of fuss at any opportunity.

Our piglets, Peggy and Babs, gave us quite a run around the day they arrived. They escaped from their new field (twice!) minutes after being let out of the crate and took us an hour (with the help of a number of wonderful neighbours and friends) to catch. They are now very settled and will happily roll over for a tummy tickle while grunting appreciatively.

The geese are laying well but their laying season is a short one. I would highly recommend scrambled goose egg on toast. If you’ve never tried it you are definitely missing out! Another little known secret is that duck eggs make the best cakes ever!

Plants

Tomato (and other) plants are now on sale at the Care Farm gate 7 days a week. There are varieties to suit every palate and every environment, all of which have been tried and tested and have received approval from our discerning groups. Please respect our clients by not asking us for assistance during group times; weekdays 10am-3pm. See our Facebook page for details or contact Isobel@wickgrange.co.uk 

Fundraising

Thanks to the enthusiasm of Pershore Rotary, our determination to raise the money needed to improve and extend the Care Farm buildings continues. 

We have recently applied for and received a Grant for £10,000 from National Lottery “Awards for All”. This grant will go towards essential insulation of the ceilings and walls, to keep the building warm enough for all clients to attend even on the coldest of days. We still have a long way to go with our fundraising and Grant applications before our hopes and dreams can become a reality, but we are getting closer to our goal with every step.

Please help us by signing up for www.easyfundraising.org.uk and nominating Wick Care Farm as the cause you wish to support.

 

Kitchen Refurbishment & Fundraising Update

Once again everyone at Wick Care Farm would like to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who has already supported our Kitchen Refurbishment fundraising efforts. 

We are currently in the process of researching possible grants to apply for, as well as obtaining quotes for the insulation and flooring.  

The design and layout of the kitchen, including plans for the fixtures and fittings we would like to install is starting to come together. This has required a lot of careful consideration, and we’re continuing to discuss our plans with clients and staff, as well as professional kitchen designers.      

We are currently thinking of other COVID-friendly fundraising ideas, as we are uncertain as to when we will be able to start hosting our popular Pop Up markets again. 

In the meantime, you can support us (at no extra cost!) by signing up for Easyfundraising and nominating Wick Care Farm as your chosen cause. Any online shopping you do from the numerous businesses involved (including Amazon and many holiday companies) will then raise funds for us at no extra cost or hassle to you. Just click the following link to sign up: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/ 

If you have any suggestions for COVID-friendly fundraising, please do let us know.

New Year – New life…

January is not everyone’s favourite time of year. Christmas is over and it seems a long time until we can look forward to warmer weather and longer daylight hours. At Wick Care Farm (WCF) January is a month we very much look forward to in spite of the cold, damp, dark days. Yes indeed we may spend most of our time outside, breaking the ice on the water buckets and trudging through muddy puddles, but at this time of year we eagerly await the arrival of our hand reared (aka cade) Jacob lambs. It is a good job there is not quite so much to do on the veg garden in the winter months as lambs are such wonderful time wasters. At less than a week old the lambs entertain us for hours with their playfulness, their mischievous exploration, and their willingness to curl up on our laps for a cuddle after filling their bellies with milk.

This year we are on names beginning with “C” and have a list of around 46 suggested names to choose from. So far we have 5 lambs called Colin, Clair, Coca-Cola, Connie, and Cedric.

In January 2019 we were on letter “A”. We named our first ewe lamb Lady A after Lady Araminta Aldington, Patron of the Jacob Sheep Society. In April 2019 Lady A and Alicia, along with Arnie and (everyone’s favourite cade lamb) Alan, went to live in Great Comberton. The girls have just had lambs of their own and, although rather shell shocked by the whole event, were keen to tell the boys all about it and show off their new babies.

We are hoping that our 7 adult ewes are now pregnant and due to give birth at the end of March. If you have a special “C” name you would like us to consider please tell us the name, and the story behind why the name is special to you, and we will add it to our list.

The Lands End to John O’Groats Virtual Challenge…Complete!

There is no denying that 2020 has been a difficult year but if you, like us, are determined to find the silver lining in every cloud, there have been some positives along the way too.

We were obliged to close the Care Farm for three months from March to June 2020 which felt very uncomfortable. We missed seeing of all our regulars, and although we kept in touch by phoning, messaging, emailing and good old pigeon post, we were aware this was a poor substitute for our usual input. On the bright side it really brought home to us how much being part of the Care Farm community means to people and we were so happy when we were able to welcome folk back in June.

On October 29th Isobel and Jo joined Pershore Rotary Club to walk the 1083 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats. We have been incredibly inspired and energised by the support of Pershore Rotary club this year. We cannot overstate how grateful we are to them for organising and leading our recently completed 1083 mile sponsored walk which has, so far, raised over £2,200 towards our kitchen renovation project.

The walk to John O’Groats may be over but we still have a way to go to turn our dream of a fit-for-purpose kitchen into a reality. With the ongoing support on offer from Pershore Rotary Club, and thanks to all of you amazing individuals who have kindly donated already, it really does feel that together we will achieve our goal.

On 31st December we arrived in John O’Groats in time to see the new year in. So please join us now by raising your glass to toast “Pershore Rotary Club and all those who have given their support to Wick Care Farm”. THANK YOU!

Virtual Walk of a Lifetime: Memory Lane

Our Virtual walking team have been plodding onwards in spite of the cold and fog last week. We are now approaching Keighley where my oldest son was born 27 years ago. I have walked many miles up hill and down dale in Yorkshire. It is a truly beautiful area with heather moorland and mile upon mile of drystone walls. I am looking forward to visiting my old stomping ground where I will enjoy reminiscing about the miles I walked in 1993 initially with a bump at the front and later with a sleeping baby in a backpack.

Jo

Pershore Rotary Virtual Walk of a Lifetime

I would imagine that most people are aware of Rotary and the amazing work they do across the world. At Wick Care Farm we feel incredibly privileged to have been identified by our local Rotarians as a “cause” that is worthy of their support. 

Pre-coronavirus, Pershore Rotary were planning a sponsored walk in support of Wick Care Farm. When lockdown and social distancing scuppered this plan, did they put away their walking boots and give in? Oh no, that is not the Rotary way. They were not going to be beaten by the virus and adapted their plans to accommodate the new restrictions.

Instead, the Rotary team are undertaking a “Virtual Walk of a Lifetime”, matching the 1083 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats without ever straying far from Worcestershire. Isobel and I have joined the Rotary team, and you can follow our progress on Facebook and Instagram.

We are walking the length of the country to raise funds for a much needed new kitchen for the care farm.

Wick Care Farm operates out of a renovated farm building which was not originally designed for its current use. Planting, tending, harvesting, preparing and eating our own fruit and vegetables has become an important and integral part of what we do. The benefits include feeling a sense of community in that everyone, in some way, will have played a part in the delicious and nutritious meal that we all sit down together to enjoy.

Our group size has increased over the years until we reached what we found to be an optimum level. Our kitchen is simply no longer fit for purpose and a “new” kitchen has been top of our wish list for some time.

Although much needed, it felt a bit of a pipe dream. With the wonderful support and enthusiasm from Pershore Rotary it now feels like we can start the long walk towards achieving this and improving the facilities on offer for everyone at the care farm.

If you would like to donate to our fundraiser, you can do so online by clicking here

If you would prefer to make a donation in cash, please email info@wickgrange.co.uk to arrange this.

The “New Normal” at Wick Care Farm (WCF)

I (Jo Ballin) am writing this as we are adapting our lives to the “new normal” and seemingly well into the “second wave” of the “COVID pandemic”. It amazes me how quickly we automatically use these new expressions in our daily lives, and everyone who attends WCF has been extremely helpful in embracing our new procedures to the best of their ability.

Expert social-distancing at WCF!

People tell us it feels like a safe place to be with these measures in place and that they are pleased to be back at the farm. We started slowly and cautiously with small groups for just a couple of hours at a time. We are now back to our full five hour sessions but with a maximum of six clients and four staff and spread over four days a week rather than three.  

As the weather is changing from glorious sunny, dry days to rather less glorious cold and damp we are needing to spend more time indoors. With social distancing we have to manage peoples’ movement inside the building – it’s a choreographed routine that wouldn’t look out of place on Strictly Come Dancing!

Face coverings are used on and off throughout the day, and are becoming quite eye-catching in their varied designs. We are eagerly waiting to see whether Andrea will design us a turkey style face covering or possible Santa beard in time for Christmas!

Images from Lockdown at Wick Care Farm

Jo with new born lambs

Easter Egg hunt in the newly sorted store

Jo with new born lambs - April 

Joel and his trainee gardener planting seeds

Plants for sale in May

Andrea making masks

Vegetables plants for sale in May

Andrea making face masks - prototype - next one was more colourful

First new potatoes

Newly sheared sheep

Hay making

The vegetable patch at the beginning of June.. Just when things are getting going.

Welcome Back to Wick Care Farm (WCF) by Jo Ballin

Since WCF opened six years ago we have faced numerous challenges as with any new venture. Thanks to the wonderful supporters of WCF we have always pulled together and tackled each challenge with confidence. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever contemplate needing to deal with a global pandemic but suddenly LOCK-DOWN was upon us. There have been highs as well as lows during the past 4 months and we have done our best to ride this Corona-coaster with the same team spirit that has always made WCF feel so special to everyone associated with it.
Isobel and I set up a rota of contacting everyone we would usually see every week and tried to find ways to help everyone feel connected. We have messaged, emailed, phoned, and even used good old Royal Mail to send news, photos, cards and video updates as regularly as possible, and to check how everyone was coping with the situation.
Keith (aka Mr Quizmaster) was tasked with doing a quiz for the staff team via WhatsApp. He applied himself to this with great enthusiasm and has kept our brains well exercised over the weeks (as well as causing some hilarity) with questions ranging from Anatomy to Zoology and even some requiring in-depth knowledge of the Teletubbies.
If you have been following us on Facebook and Instagram you may have seen the following…
Lambing at the beginning of April was much nicer for our ewes thanks to everyone who helped raise the funds to buy our field barn. We were also grateful for your help with naming 11 lambs (Bevan, Bart, Barnaby, Begonia, Betsy, Buddy, Buttercup, Blossom, Byron, Bluebell, and Bramble).
The piglets, Tulip and Daffodil, have grown from those cute new arrivals on 7th March to the courgette devouring video stars pictured on 31st July. They love to have their backs scratched with the special brush made by Tom P.
Two of the female geese became broody and sat for weeks and weeks on an ever increasing clutch of eggs but sadly did not manage to hatch a single gosling.
Tomato plant sales rocketed this year with so many people choosing to grow their own food rather than attempt a supermarket shop during lock-down. We delivered plants locally and discovered lovely tucked away homes in places we have never had cause to visit before.
Our virtual Easter egg hunt on Facebook received a record number of viewings even though there was no chocolate involved. Did you spot all 32 eggs?
Joel, with the help of his boys (aged 5 and 2 yrs), continued his role as WCF’s resident musician and entertained the team with some fabulous songs (and slightly dodgy camera work). Please have a listen to Joel’s band’s EP “I just want to go outside” via our Facebook page.
The swallows returned to their old nests in the attic and we managed to photograph a very newly hatched chick. They are now building up their strength and preparing for their long journey to South Africa for some winter sunshine.
As new life was being celebrated by the swallows, some semblance of our “old life” at WCF was starting to shine like a bright light at the end of a long tunnel. In early June we were given the go ahead for our teenagers to restart their weekly sessions and then gradually we have had the green light for most of our adult clients to return. We have put a lot of work into minimising any risk of Coronavirus being brought to or passed on at WCF and everyone is starting to settle into the new routines. We currently have smaller groups for shorter sessions over more days. We are staying with 2m social distancing, spending most of our time outdoors or keeping doors open when inside, and taking each day as it comes until the risks from Coronavirus, or the weather, dictate any change of plans…
Also, in June 2020… “Make hay while the sun shines” was literally the case on Thursday 25th June. William, Sam, and I, ably assisted by Clair driving the tractor, were tasked with bringing the hay in. We had not banked on temperatures reaching 30°C that morning.. However, heavy rain was forecast so we knuckled down and got the job done, and before you ask… “ NO” it did not rain after all 😊.
And finally… on Tuesday 28th July we started planning for Christmas when we took delivery of 20 turkey poults. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see how incredibly quickly they grow and how very loveable and entertaining turkeys can be!

Written by Jo Ballin