Sustainability of work for vulnerable adults in social farming environmental
In September 2017 Camphill Foundation UK & Ireland pledged support for phase 1 of Clanabogan’s new farm development project, which is designed in 2 phases:
Phase 1: Hay Drier and Storage Barn
To build a new fit-for-purpose barn to house all hay and straw, fitted out with drying and handling equipment enabling the production of high quality barn-dried hay. Solar panels, a crane loader, de-humidifier and fan will be installed within the storage barn for efficient farming.
Phase 2: Animal Care Barn
To build a new, larger, adequate animal care barn. The roof and structural steel must be designed to allow the crane to travel into the barn to deliver hay and straw to all cattle.
The proposed new buildings will provide sustainability of work place for vulnerable adults with learning difficulties within a social farming environment through the management of increasing high health and safety risks. There are now greater numbers of people working on the farm, some of whom can display challenging behaviour. The new buildings and equipment will ensure substantial physical separation of tractor/loader work and care farming activity. The new facilities will also increase farm productivity, animal welfare and farm efficiency.
With the re-discovery of the benefits of social care farming for vulnerable groups, Camphill Community Clanabogan, near Omagh, Northern Ireland, has experienced a fast growing interest from residents, day-attenders and potential residents in the farm as a workplace. Currently 9 residents with learning disabilities are engaged in regular healthy and meaningful work on the farm. As such opportunities are limited within Northern Ireland, Clanabogan aims to ensure that this opportunity for adults with learning disabilities is both retained and developed. Developing the new facilities and reducing health and safety risks will enable this to happen and also create an additional 2-5 placement possibilities.
Research demonstrates that an estimated 25-40% of people living with learning disabilities also have mental health issues (Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities). There is a need to impact positively on mental health through providing supported opportunities for adults to engage with and contribute to the wider community through meaningful, valued work. Recent evidence produced by the Social Farming Across Borders Project has shown that social farming brings about “increased good health and well-being, greater inclusion in the local community, development of skills, enhancement of confidence and self-belief and a heightened sense of purpose and focus for the individual”.
Clanabogan has practised and championed this approach for many years and continues to be a pioneer and innovator in the field. For further information and to follow ongoing developments please visit camphillclanabogan.com