Newsletter March 2018

NEWSLETTER
MARCH 2018

 

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

Newsletter February 2018

As we enter a new month, we have moved into our new, completed building. It consists of three main zones – a central entrance leading into an area for removing outdoor clothing, warmed by a solid fuel stove/cooker. The right hand side contains an enormous dining table and benches to enable everyone to eat together, as well as a sofa and comfy chairs for relaxing. The left hand has our main kitchen area at one end with an office at the other. The whole building is heated and is an absolute pleasure to spend time in.

We have been very lucky that we have been able to use funding from the Big Lottery, as well as a very generous donation, to achieve this fantastic 'farmhouse'.

We have welcomed a number of new animals to the farm. The first Monday of February brought the first Lane End Farm Trust Poll Dorset lamb. This long legged, knobbly kneed, rather large male is currently known as Albert and is proving to be a very confident young chap. He already enjoys human company, running over to say hello and head butting at every opportunity.

Since Albert’s arrival, we have been lucky enough to have another 4 single lambs, one set of twins and a set of triplets born, all of which are doing really well and have doting mothers.

As well as these youngsters, we also saw the arrival of our new piglets, brought from a local smallholding. We chose an extremely friendly, 10 week old Gloucester Old Spot female (Dotty) who we hope to breed from.

Along with Dotty, we have brought in four Gloucester Old Spot cross piglets who are 8 weeks old and, although more timid than Dotty, are starting to get used to their human companions.

Ben, our Irish Draught cross horse, seems to have recovered from his bout of arthritis after treatment and TLC. We are continuing to monitor him, especially as the cold weather continues, and give him Glucosamine in the hope that we can protect him from this discomfort in the future. All three horses have developed beautiful winter coats, which have ensured they are warm during these months. They have also maintained their not unsubstantial weights, despite the winter grazing.

As well as new animals on the farm, things are starting to appear in the greenhouse. Seeds including broad beans, cauliflower, garlic, salad leaves and Sweet Peas have already been sown and some are starting to sprout. In early spring, they will be ready to transplant into the beds, which were prepared by our students, staff and volunteers.

 

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Newsletter January 2018

After a cold end to 2017, which resulted in an ice rink for a yard and frozen water pipes, we start the New Year full of excitement for the completion of our new base.

 

The shell of the building, which consists of two log cabins joined by a covered utility area, is nearly finished. The next stage will be for us to install a kitchen area and office in one of the cabins, while the other will contain a large trestle table and sofas so that our young people have somewhere to eat, enjoy each other’s company and relax. All will be heated by log burning stoves, providing a warm, comfortable and inviting place to work and learn.

2018 will also mean the completion of our animal care area. Alongside our mixed flock of sheep, Oxford Sandy & Black pigs, ducks, hens, pony and horses, we will be bringing in rabbits and guinea pigs. As well as having therapeutic value as a way of helping some young people relax and unwind through being to handle and spend time with these smaller animals, it will enable the young people to gain more hands on experience and to further expand their skills and knowledge.

Our animals were all well looked after through the cold weather and some of them, especially the Hebridean sheep, seemed to thrive on being in blizzards. Our carriage driving pony Izzy, Oscar the Clydesdale and our newest horse, Ben the Irish Draught cross, also enjoyed the snow, much to our surprise. Unfortunately, the cold weather has brought to light the probability that Ben has arthritis in his front right leg. Over the Christmas period, he was given lots of rest and TLC and we are now trying him on a new wonder drug. He is starting to look much more comfortable, which is a relief to us all. However, as always, these things come at a cost and the medication is no exception, so we are hoping that as the weather warms, Ben will no longer need this extra support, or it can at least be reduced.

In the vegetable garden, we still have the last of the winter crops in situ, such as kale, carrots and Jerusalem artichokes, and work has already started on preparations for the coming year’s harvest – beds have been dug over and covered, weeds have been pulled up and seeds have been ordered. The last month saw a surge of interest in our produce from a number of different outlets and we are looking forward to some exciting new opportunities in the near future. Watch this space.  Our eggs are still hugely popular and, by Easter, we will have purchased our second chicken hut and a further 100 hens in order to try and meet at least some of this massive demand.

We also have a new project on the horizon where our young people will have the opportunity to design, plant and tend to their own individual plots. They will be able to grow whatever they like, include features such as ponds and paths, and harvest the fruit of their labours to eat at the farm or take home. Having our new kitchen area also means that they will have the chance to learn cooking skills, using some of the crops they have helped produce to make salads, soups and so on.

2018 looks like it is shaping up to be a year of great opportunity and progress for staff, volunteers and, most importantly, the young people of Lane End Farm Trust.

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CHRISTMAS MARKET!

SUNDAY DECEMBER 10TH 11AM - 4PM

Lane End Farm Trust will be taking part in Beltonville Farm's 2017 Christmas Market. We are holding a raffle, guessing the name of our friendliest Poll Dorset sheep, introducing our driving pony, Izzy, to visitors as well as selling hand made cupcakes and our limited edition Henderson's Relish. All funds raised will go towards enabling us to continue our work with young people.

All our welcome and we would love to see you!

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Riding High with Wheelie!

On Thursday 12th May, Gina, Izzy and the team took our first wheelchair user, Ian 'Wheelie' Burgess, on the full 10km trek into the moors. The sun was shining and it was a momentous occasion for the Trust. Years of dreaming, planning and hard work had finally been realised and the fact that it was shared with Wheelie, a true friend of the Trust, made it all the more special. We now intend to make this a regular event to ensure that wheelchair users can also enjoy what many of us take for granted.

Charity of the Year

We are really pleased to announce that Sheffield University Equestrian Society are volunteering at Lane End Farm and have chosen us as their charity of the year. Their fundraising has got off to a great start with a night hike and a bake sale. All the funds will go towards buying specialist equipment for our riding high project.  We would like to say a massive thank you for their decision to support us in this project and we look forward to working with them in 2016.