A NEW social enterprise project providing "life-changing" activities for adults with learning disabilities has been launched.

Able Hands Together (AHT) is a not-for-profit organisation based at River Bourne Community Farm in Laverstock.

A special ribbon cutting ceremony was held today (Friday September 22) with Lord Pembroke to mark the official launch.

"Able Hands provides an extraordinary life-changing experience for our users, who we call co-farmers," said founder Laura Tween, who has worked with adults with learning disabilities for more than 20 years.

"We all work together to care for the pigs, cows, goats, sheep and rabbits. Our mission is to teach our co-farmers how to nurture livestock and to grow their own produce so that they can cook from their success."

Laura started the project in February 2016, with just one co-farmer. Now it has 13 regular attendees, aged from early 20s to 60s, plus a team of staff and volunteers.

"We’re launching now as we weren’t ready before," said Laura. "Now I want to tell the world about Able Hands – I’d love Salisbury locals to learn about us and even join us, either as co-farmers or volunteers."

It is hoped that by the end of this year AHT will be approved for the NHS’s new social prescribing scheme. This allows health professionals to prescribe non-clinical services for patients, in order to address their health needs in a more holistic way.

Laura said: "We offer everything in one place for our co-farmers to boost their mental and physical health, confidence and self-esteem.

"We learn new skills within a social network – all of this together can, and does, transform co-farmers mental and physical health, and their quality of life."

Able Hands have recently bought a vintage tractor, which the co-farmers will restore with the help of volunteer enthusiasts, to present at vintage and motor events.

And fundraising is underway to lay new electricity lines.

Laura dreams of expanding Able Hands Together to further locations. She said: "I’m very proud of all we’ve achieved – and this launch is just the beginning."