March certainly arrived with a bang, bringing with it the 'Beast from the East'. The beast made life very difficult for us here - we closed for 3 days and the farm was almost inaccessible for 5 days. Fortunately, Vicky our Livestock Manager has a vehicle and a driver who would not be defeated, ensuring that she was able to personally check all the animals each day.
March also saw the arrival of our second hen house, purchased with a grant. More chickens have been ordered to arrive after Easter, meaning we will be able to double our egg production. Other exciting bird news is the recent hatching of 6 ducklings from our resident White Campbell mothers and Khaki Campbell father. They are proving to be a real favourite and pockets are checked on leaving to make sure none are sneaked out.
On the vegetable plot, staff and students have been busy planting 135 saplings donated by The Woodland Trust. A hedge has been created around the exposed perimeter of the plot, using native species including Hazel, Crab Apple, Dogwood, Dog Rose and Hawthorn. This will give much needed shelter for the plants while, at the same time, creating a habitat and food source for birds, mammals and insects. Supporting wildlife in this way helps ensure a balanced eco-system which plays a major part in making it possible for us to grow food according to organic principles.
We were delighted and very proud to hear that one of our students, a 21 year old, severely Autistic young man, is 1 of 2 athletes from Sheffield to be selected to join the GB squad at next year's Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Last August, our star won a silver medal in table tennis at the Special Olympics National Summer Games, held in Sheffield. Special Olympics Sheffield are a local group of volunteers whose sole aim is to support athletes with Intellectual Disabilities to enjoy the amazingly positive experience of sport. Their two fantastic athletes will be part of a competition involving 7000 athletes from 170 countries, competing in 20 different sports. They have already started their training and we wish them both all the luck in the world.
As well as celebrating the achievements of the young people already coming to the farm, we have had the enjoyable task of welcoming some new faces this month. Despite the weather and mud, our newest service users have had smiles on their faces while getting stuck into new activities and meeting the animals and staff.
We have places available for further young people to join us at Lane End Farm Trust. Enquiries can be made by email or phone and we will always be pleased to speak to you.