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Down at the Farm at a Sussex Charity

VOLUNTEERS Week runs from June 3-9 – and a Mid Sussex charity is giving people the opportunity to volunteer on its amazing farm.

Farm Manager, Lesley with a Patchwork Farm Resident

Patchwork Farm is an essential part of learning and well-being at Chailey Heritage Foundation, situated in Mid Sussex.

The animals and surroundings provide a unique space for the children and young people who are living with some of the most complicated neurological and physical disabilities.

With plans to expand the farm’s activities and scope – the charity now needs more volunteers and is hoping National Volunteers’ Week will help recruitment.

Lesley Barcock, Patchwork Farm Manager said:

“The farm is an essential part of Chailey Heritage. It provides an opportunity for our young people to learn outside the classroom in a natural environment, supporting learning that takes place in school. Farm sessions are structured to be fun and cultivate individual development. We have had a lot of success here and now we need more volunteers to help us achieve even more.”

Patchwork Farm is home to goats, pigs, ducks, donkeys, and guinea pigs amongst other animals. The special bonds that the pupils form with the animals have helped to improve social and communication skills, and being outside can improve the well-being of staff, volunteers, and pupils alike.

“All our pupils have specific goals called ‘Next Steps’. The farm team and the animals work together to help our pupils achieve these. On the farm we are able to deliver a wide range of learning activities. Most days we see a little bit of magic. That could be a facial expression or a physical movement – we build on these and see real changes. It is such an inspirational place to work – there is really nothing like it!”

A Chailey Pupil Meets a Patchwork Farm Resident

The call for more volunteers comes as the charity begins fundraising for a new learning and community space on the farm.

The plan is to make the farm and all its benefits accessible to the young people, whatever the time of year. Some of the young people have medical conditions that prevent them from visiting the farm in bad weather. The unique new space will ensure that farm sessions for our young people can take place, whatever the weather, using a learning space that integrates the interior with the external environment.

Chailey’s Director of Specialist Services and Income, Will Folkes, said: “Patchwork Farm is a fantastic facility, and we want even more young people to benefit. The new indoor space will enable groups from the community and local schools to visit us to learn more about Chailey and the fantastic work that is done here. We are so grateful to the many volunteers who already give us their time and expertise – it would be wonderful to recruit some more to support the exciting developments on Patchwork Farm.”

Lesley said: “I think working at Patchwork Farm is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Our volunteers have a huge impact on the lives of our young people – and they in turn have a huge impact on us. I hope more volunteers will be inspired and come to see how good life can be.”

As well as information about becoming a Patchwork Farm Volunteer, there is also information about other volunteering opportunities at Chailey: Volunteering (chf.org.uk)

Chailey Heritage Foundation is a charity providing education, care and transition services to children and young adults with complex physical disabilities. Their mission is to give disabled children and young adults every opportunity to pursue their fullest potential.

The farm is core to school life and has an enormous educational and therapeutic impact on students, delivering lasting change.

For more information about the event and any prefilming/recording requirements, please contact: Beverley Thompson 07751 290574 bev@ignitepre.co.uk.  Peter Lindsey 07710 934574 pete@ignitepre.co.uk

Further information about Chailey Heritage Foundation can be found by Web – www.chf.org.uk

YouTube – www.youtube.com/ChaileyHeritageFoundation

X – @chaileyheritage

Facebook – www.facebook.com/ChaileyHeritageFoundation

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