An incredible resource in Ditton Priors, Shropshire.
Oak Farm provides a fantastic day opportunity for some of the most disadvantaged people who live in Shropshire. People with learning disabilities are often overlooked and their talents and abilities are untapped. Oak Farm provides a range of opportunities through ordinary farming pursuits so that people can contribute, learn and develop skills and achieve satisfaction through doing things to keep the farm progressing.
The farm keeps a range of animals, grows crops to sell, makes jams and chutneys from crops grown on site and produces hanging baskets from plants produced on the farm. In addition the farm has made some excellent connections with the local school, the community, the community land trust (which owns the land), Burwarton Show and the WI.
Oak Farm has been running for over 27 years, the majority of that time has seen the current manager at the helm. He has seen many changes and the development of the farm, including the most recent in December 2016, when the management of the farm transferred through contract tendered to Bethphage. The manager has done an excellent job, working with his staff team to deliver inclusive, person centred services. The people who attend the farm aren’t just people, they are ‘workers’, they work on the farm, look after the animals, plant and harvest crops, collect the eggs, they have a say in the running of the farm, the changes that happen and help to shape the future…..they are a key resource.
As well as the ‘workers’, Oak Farm is supported by Oak Farm Friends Association (OFFA), a group of parents and carers who support the farm in more ways than you could imagine, including raising money to keep the farm supplied with what it needs. OFFA have recently supported a range of building works due to the replacement of the large porta cabin on the site following a very kindly donated porta cabin, providing a much better and bigger space for everyone to enjoy.
The manager has an exceptional relationship with the families/carers, he said that he is proud to know them all by their first name!
After 22 years at the helm the current manager is moving onto a new challenge and preparing to hand Oak Farm over to a new manager who can both build on the existing strengths and develop new ideas to take the farm forward.
Currently the manager is responsible for a wide range of areas:
- the delivery of the service to people with learning disabilities, up to 30-35 people a day can be on site and providing emotional support when that’s needed
- liaising with social workers and other council reps
- staff management & support
- good communication with families/carers/Community Land Trust (CLT) and the council
- transport management
- property management – ensuring the repairs are reported and carried out
- animal management – sheep & lambs, 2 heifers, pigs, 2 alpacas, 1 pony, goats, chickens, rabbits & guinea pigs
- developing retail outlets for meat produced at the farm
- producing jams & chutneys
- chicken management & egg sales
- vegetable planting and sales
- hanging baskets and flower tubs
- ordering feed, equipment for the farm
- organising shows and trips out to local shows
- risk management
- weekend stock people are employed, however holiday & sickness cover has been provided by the manager
- during snow season the manager has been the only person who could get into the farm in order to carry out livestock duties
We decided that it was time to look at the job differently, so instead of producing a job description and person specification and producing an advert, we want to hear from interested people about how and what you would do ensure the continued smooth running of the farm so that the people who currently use the service can continue to enjoy working at Oak Farm.
The role may appeal to applicants with a farming or a care and support background, we appreciate that the likelihood of finding someone who currently has the knowledge, skills and experience in all of the areas listed is very remote, we want to hear from you if you have some of the skills and bold ideas to develop the farm.
If you are excited by this new opportunity and think you have a good idea then please submit your expressions of interest, including the areas listed below, to Stef Kay – email@example.com by the close of business on the 16th January 2017.
Email address/contact number
Your relevant experience
Your ideas for managing the farm
We will be inviting people who express an interest to visit the farm, have a guided tour and then to discuss your ideas with us, this will be the week of the 22nd January. We want to find an enthused, creative person with a relevant background with a vision for the future management of the farm. Someone who is keen to press ahead with co-production at all levels, getting the farm into the community and the people who access it to continue to develop excellent community presence is key.
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