Wellies-On Community Interest Company is a Care Farm near Colchester in Essex.
Wellies-On welcomes farm helpers (known as Co-Farmers) from many different backgrounds with varying needs, abilities, strengths and weaknesses. They have no age restrictions.
Care farming is the therapeutic use of farming practices.
• Provide health, social or educational care services for individuals from one or a range of vulnerable groups. Includes people with mental health problems, people suffering from mild to moderate depression, adults and children with learning disabilities, children with autism, those with a drug or alcohol addiction history, disaffected young people, adults and people on probation.
• Provide a supervised, structured programme of farming-related activities, including animal husbandry (livestock, small animals, poultry), crop and vegetable production, woodland management etc.
• Provide services on a regular basis for participants, where clients/participants attend the farm regularly as part of a structured care, rehabilitation, therapeutic or educational programme.
The skills needed to care for animals and grow things as well as the uniquely special interaction that animals can give, especially to people who don't or can't interact easily with other people, can make a huge difference to their lives.
The clients that attend the care farm get involved in everything from grooming to milking, bedding down the animals to leading them in and out, planting things in the garden & woodland, sweeping the yard area and everything else in between. They do this with a team of highly qualified teachers, mental health professionals and support staff, often in small groups or on a 1 to 1 basis. In many cases they will work towards formal qualifications or accreditation, in nearly all cases they are working towards a better quality of life.
'We aim to:-
We recognise the importance of connecting with the natural world in order to maintain good physical and emotional health. Co-farmers can increase their wellbeing through participation in the real and meaningful tasks involved in the everyday running of the farm.
Sow the seeds of resilience (coping skills)
We recognise that life presents many challenges and that sometimes our ability to cope is stretched.
We provide a supportive environment for co-farmers to explore their own sense of identity and self-belief through one to one and small group activities. Positive risk taking is supported in a real working environment full of challenges, surprises and learning opportunities associated within this safe and stimulating care farm.
Plough the way forward
We passionately believe that everybody, regardless of their starting point, should be given the opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to move forward in a positive direction. Co-farmers are supported to physically and emotionally develop a relationship with the land, the people and the work. This experience and the skills acquired can be taken forward into their lives beyond the Wellies-On family.'
Budding Co-Farmers can contact us themselves or be referred by a variety of different organisations including social services, support worker, carer, occupational or physio therapist, GP or educational advisor.