Hello, we are Dave and Carolyn and we are looking to create a project which will support and advocate people facing difficulties arising from domestic abuse, PTSD and other mental health challenges. We want to provide therapeutic and social opportunities in a rural farming social enterprise, where the land and the animals provide the therapy.
Whilst some help out there, spending cuts are preventing many people from accessing the necessary support, with any support being for a limited time.
Recovery and self-healing from this challenges doesn't have a timescale and often support comes to an end, long before the recovery is complete.
We speak from experience, having both faced challenges relating to PTSD and mental health. We have, over four years, purchased and bred a number of farm animals, including many Rare Breeds. It is time spent with these animals and working holistically with our land that has help us continue through the healing process. We have been able to fulfil our aims so far, through self-funding.
We are determined to show that any mental health condition isn't a barrier to business success and we aim to become a sustainable trading enterprise rather than being reliant on grants. We will use the money raised from the farm produce to create and build our rural farming social enterprise, offering people the opportunity to come and work alongside us and our animals. There will be no timescale for how often people can attend, giving them a choice and ownership in their own recovery.
With your help we will build designated areas in which people can come and help with our animals without feeling pressurised and also help with planting and growing, with which the produce from we will offer to the clients and sell to local people, restaurants and, direct to the public at farmers markets and online. Any money made will then go back into the business.
We also wish to purchase more equipment, which we can loan to local schools, to help with the education of children, about where their food comes from, including the hatching and rearing of chicks.
We trialled this in April 2018 at a school near Exeter, where the children incubated, hatched and reared some Rare Breed chicks.
During this trial, the Foundation Stage children learnt that not all eggs that come from chickens are brown! They successfully raised Cream Legbar, Black Marsh Daisy and Andalusian chicks. Throughout the experience, the children were able to 'candle' the eggs and see the developing chick inside the egg, as well as following the development with an interactive app - iHatch.
The Staff had nothing but praise about the experience, saying that the quality of the children's' unsupported writing was some of the best they had done. They were keen to come into school every day and once the chicks hatched, were able to handle the chicks - an experience many would never experience. The children were also able to see where the chicks would be living, once their time at the school had ended.
We are already planning for next year with this school.
We would also like to take some of our more friendly animals into local schools, care homes and community groups for domestic abuse victims and people with mental health issues. This is because there has been scientific research that shows that by petting animals, it can bring a sense of well-being to individuals.
The money we raise, will go a long way to help us achieve this support and education project. Every penny will go into making this project successful, because people matter!