Who is The Island Project?
We are a non-profit youth care farm in Derby, England. We provide vocational education and life skills to children and teenagers with complex needs such as autism, learning disabilities, ADHD, and victims of abuse. We aim to improve our students' self-esteem, social skills and job prospects for the future.
We operate on a small farm and have a variety of animals which we care for with the help of our students. We do not sell or slaughter our animals. They are here for the singluar purpose of providing informal therapy to our students. We encourage our animals to display all their natural behaviours and live a happy, healthy life.
On any given morning you will find youngsters collecting eggs, mucking out and feeding the various animals, walking the donkeys and grooming the rabbits.
Our animals also provide a brilliant form of informal therapy. Children often find the non-judgemental affection of a warm, fluffy creature very relaxing. How could anyone not smile around Charlie the donkey here:
What will we use the money for and why?
We need a variety of bits 'n' bobs to bring our animal welfare up to an exceptional standard. We always encourage students to get hands on and help us with the installation of new equipment. Helping out around the farm in this way helps to give them ownership of the site and gives a huge sense of pride. Win-win!
We need the following:
-2 field shelters. We are only asking for the raw materials. The shelters will be made in-house by our site handyman to keep costs extremely low (at least half the price of a ready-made version). We might even get some of our older students to help out where appropriate! For students who are learning woodwork/construction skills, this'll be a fantastic opportunity to put those skills into practice.
-An air conditioning unit for our "Animal Zone" - this is a large room where we keep some of the smaller animals. We hold lessons in there as well as informal animal therapy sessions. During the summer it gets extremely hot, which is not fair on the students and animals alike. An air conditioner will really help to make it a more pleasant learning environment.
-Plus various bits and bobs for the animals including mineral licks and head collars and leads.
PS. The amount we are fundraising for is only a fraction of the cost of upgrading our farm facilities. If we get overfunded, there are plenty more shelters we need, and bigger rabbit accomodation we wish to buy, a pig pen we want to expand, amongst many many other things. So even if we reach our target and you still want one of the rewards, go for it! :)
An example of the £50 reward animal enrichment "voodoo doll" (see rewards section to the right):
Want to find out more about our work? Listen to our interview with BBC Radio Derby: