Our columnist Charlie Mead has been quiet of late. I sometimes see Facebook posts of him at various locations around the world, enjoying himself, often on golf courses. You would almost think he had retired!
Far from it. In fact, Charlie has been busier than ever, not only with helping vulnerable children but also with a project to develop supported holidays in Devon for children and adults with special needs and disabilities, called South Worden Farm.
Here he tells us all about it:
Fritillary Cottage and Billy’s Barn are part of a farm project to give disabled and special needs children and adults access to the countryside. Set in the rolling hills of North Devon, just a few miles from the sea, South Worden Farm is the perfect setting for families to take a break and allow their relatives with additional needs to be looked after by the highly experienced and qualified owners.
Maggi Gardiner has been working with SEN children and young adults for 30 years – and it is over 20 years since she first started to support families who needed a break from their caring role by taking the children out for specially designed holiday activities. Meanwhile the family were able to go to the beach with their other children and return to a happy child. Maggi has now created two cottages and a supported holiday programme to cater for a wide range of conditions and abilities. She will work closely with families to provide a quality holiday experience for all and probably get you involved in farm life as well!
Billy’s Barn caters for up to four people and is suitable for all conditions that do not require a wheelchair. Families with children or young adults who have ASD or Downs Syndrome or who are sensory impaired and able to walk fit well in this cottage.
Fritillary Cottage is a barn that has been specially designed and converted for disabled and wheelchair users. Level access throughout, with a rise and fall kitchen and easy access to the wet room, this is a large space that can sleep up to 4 but is ideally suited for 2 wheelchair users. This is still under construction but will be available from the beginning of the Summer Holidays.
The farm is part of a Devon Wildlife Trust conservation project and hosts a wide range of animals, flowers and insects – including the rare Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. Everyone visiting the farm is welcome to explore the 20 acres with a guide as well as feed the farm animals. Sheep, Pigs, Goats, Chickens, Geese and Ducks are all part of daily life as well as the three cats and Charlie the Dog.
For families, they can expect to be offered a range of activities as part of the supported holiday programme. These can be based on the farm or include visits to any number of places locally – from accessible beaches to activity centres, from Dartmoor to Exmoor and everywhere in between. Maggi can offer art-based or sport-based activities or just sensory experiences for those who find physical activity a challenge.
Launched a few weeks ago, this is a unique service in North Devon and is already attracting considerable attention. South Worden can meet the needs of most people with additional needs and for more immediate information please log on to: www.southwordenfarm.co.uk and if you would then like a more detailed discussion with Maggi about what your supported holiday would look like please call her .
The owners of South Worden Farm are passionate about providing opportunities to children and their families to experience quality holidays in the security of knowing their loved ones are being cared for and are safe. This is the beginning of a great venture that will grow and develop with the families that use this service – so be part of something new. Come and visit us soon.
- Child Sexual Exploitation – a child psychologist’s account - March 27, 2015
- Charlie’s farm project to create accessible holidays in Devon - July 4, 2014
- The Positive Power of Assessment – finding the right route - April 4, 2014