Oak Farm Seeks Community Support

Oak Farm is a community farm, located in Ditton Priors, Shropshire. Opening in 1990, Oak Farm provides interesting and engaging, farm-based day opportunities for adults with learning disabilities and autism and has been managed by local registered charity, Bethphage, since 2016.

The team at the farm are passionate about the farm and the wonderful opportunities they provide to local people. The people who attend, ‘the workers’ are involved in future decisions and how the funds that they raise are used. In addition, we have had wonderful support over the years from the families and carers of the people we support at Oak Farm.

Despite the fabulous efforts from our supporters, Oak Farm hasn’t had the investment that it needs over the years, and we are currently looking to raise grant funds to repair the portacabin that we have on site, which has been badly affected by water ingress following weeks and months of dreadful weather. As this situation has worsened, we have had to limit some of the activities at Oak Farm and have been operating out of the local village hall. We have also been unable to undertake new referrals to support new people at the farm.

Our team and the people we support (‘the workers’) have shown incredible resilience and resourcefulness during this difficult time, however we need support from our community to enable us to achieve a long-term solution to get Oak Farm back to its full potential.

Stef Kay – Chief Executive of Bethphage said

‘We’d love to hear from anyone who can support the farm with funds or support, we have been really blessed by the support from the local Young Farmers, and local contractors in the past. We also had great support from “The Oak Farm Friends Association (OFFA)”, which sadly had to disband earlier this year.’

‘OFFA have been absolutely amazing over the years, the funds they have raised have been used to buy equipment, uniforms for the workers, make improvements to the site and lots more, they really are a wonderful group of people with a vested interest in the farm and we owe them so much for their dedication and amazing fund-raising skills.’

Ceri Burgess – Oak Farm’s manager has worked hard with the team to improve the site and ensure the offering for the workers includes education sessions, interesting days out to learn about new ideas and hosting talks to local WI, who have also been an amazing support, as well as the usual site chores.

Ceri said

‘I feel privileged to work at Oak Farm, working with my team and the workers is such a pleasure. The passion and enthusiasm is felt by all who are involved and visit, I feel blessed to work with the Farm family.’

Oak Farm is a fantastic resource for local people, providing a wide range of opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, including animal husbandry, growing crops from seed through their life cycle to harvesting, some of which are used to make jams and chutneys and some are sold in the farm shop or fed to the animals, nothing is wasted at the farm as the compost is always needed to keep the life cycle of the farm going. Cooking sessions are also offered as a part of our “fork-to-fork” programme which teaches the people we support practical cooking skills with a focus on healthy eating, sustainable practices and low food mileage. Many individuals that completed these sessions have gone on to use these skills when moving into their own homes.

Oak Farm is a regular contributor at the “Burwarton Show”, having attended for over 20 years, where they have been awarded several Women’s Institute horticultural awards for their produce. Oak Farm is also the home of “Oak Fest”, the bi-annual village show open to all in the local community, the show hosts a range of stalls from local businesses, live music, food and the popular dog show.

If anyone would like to support the farm please get in touch, we would love to hear from you Tel no. 07714133906 or email oakfarmfuture@bethphage.co.uk

Adults with learning disabilities at Oak Farm, Bethphage
Oak Farm, day out for adults with special needs
Music activity for adults with learning disabilities at Bethphage, Oak Farm

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