A FARM in Wishford supporting adults with learning difficulties has been given a grant of £10,000.

Able Hands Together was set up by Laura Tween and offers a place where “co-farmers” can work with animals and learn to be independent.

But Laura wanted to offer more.

The £10,000 grant has enabled Able Hands Together to start an events company, Blossom Together, and run a training course.

“Mencap research states that only six per cent of people with a learning disability, who are known to the local authority are in paid employment,” said Laura.

“I had this vision of running events so that the co-farmers could help and be paid for their work. I am so excited to announce that we have received a grant of over £10,000 from ESFA and EST to train up 10 clients.”

The money was from ESFA (ESFA Community Training Grants: Swindon and Wiltshire Groundwork).

“The grant enables us to run a 20-week training course for our co-farmers. At the end they will have skills that will enable them to help organise birthday parties, weddings and afternoon teas on the farm. Not only will the co-farmers gain confidence but we will raise funds for the farm,” Laura added.

“Our participants have never had the opportunity for paid employment. Blossom Together will provide employment but be mindful of their benefits system and ensure they suffer no financial detriment, which is often a significant barrier.

Dr Michael Francis Pollin, a researcher and consultant in education is in charge of the course and will be training the co-farmers in waitressing, how to be a kitchen assistant, customer service, and other aspects of event organising.

The first events the co-farmers will be working on is an afternoon tea on July 30, and an Able Hands Farm open day on July 31.

“Come and visit the farm and see what we do here, meet the Co Farmers, staff and say hello to the animals.” added Laura. “There will be stalls selling food, local artisan products, tea and cakes. We will also be launching our new Gin Bar selling various cocktails.”

Able Hands Together works closely with other social care providers, South Wilts Mencap and Adult Services, and Alabare.

For more information visit: ablehandstogether.org.uk