ENGLAND: Animal Care & Social Care Support

United Kingdom

Adventure Overview:

  • 1 Year

For many people, getting off alcohol and other drugs is not the hardest part of overcoming an addiction. Staying off and living alcohol and drug free is. There are many reasons for this; one is having to face the pain they’ve been trying to escape from. This pain may have been caused by abuse suffered as a child, abandonment, the loss of a loved one or a failed relationship. These are not easy issues to face at the best of times, but they are that much harder when combined with the additional problem of recovering from dependency on alcohol or drugs.

Together with the town-based social care projects, the farm (a 15-acre smallholding in the beautiful Goyt Valley) has supported many clients over the years - including those with drug/alcohol related issues, depression/mental health issues and long-term unemployment. Others have been referred from Youth and Adult Probation Services. The aim is to encourage self-discipline and to empower people to gain skills for employment. 'Care Farming' is recognised as an effective means of helping people who are disadvantaged to overcome obstacles and move forward in their lives as they learn new skills, develop a healthy life-style, build stable families and contribute to stronger communities.

This project seeks to address these issues in a very real and practical way, providing an opportunity for a change of lifestyle for people who are committed to overcoming life-controlling substance/alcohol misuse. Their aim is to encourage: a sense of belonging and individual identity in an open, non-judgmental atmosphere; an empowering environment using a holistic approach, helping clients to meet emotional, spiritual and psychological needs and reach each individuals true potential.

Skills taught in this project include: Dry stone walling; production, sale and marketting of free range eggs; woodwork; forestry management; animal management; carpentry and more.

The latest activity to come on stream is the Woodwork Skills Training Course. Based in one of the barns at the farm, the course is designed to provide therapeutic but meaningful training, and to encourage greater self-confidence and self esteem.

The training involves instruction in the safe use of Saws, Chisels, Drills and other woodworking tools, as well as the construction of timber garden furniture and planters etc. Emphasis is placed on discipline, time-keeping and working safely.

Links are being made with training bodies and they aim to establish a programme that will provide clients with a Level of Achievement award as they reach required standards.

At Level 1, clients are limited to working with ‘hand tools’. As they reach greater levels of skill they progress to Level 2 where they can complete a project they have designed themselves - such as a small piece of furniture or a woodcarving.

Clients who show aptitude can progress to Level 3 where they become involved in repair and restoration work and making items from scratch. Proceeds from the sale of items made or refurbished help to defray costs. The course is designed to equip clients with the skills and, more importantly, the self-discipline required to help them achieve full time employment.

What is Included?

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • 24 / 7 Support
  • Training
  • Adventure Package
  • Stipend
  • Information Pack
  • Accommodation: During your time in this project you would stay with a  local family and enjoy the warmth of the Derbyshire hospitality. You will have your own room and shared facilities.
  • Food: You will generally eat together with the family, however if required you can - in negotiation with the family - cook for yourself.
  • Stipend: Volunteering is all about giving right?! Well, yes and no! Volunteering should be loads of fun for you too, and it’s not so easy to get out and have fun unless you have a few pennies to spend! Agapé volunteers in this project receive a stipend either on a weekly or monthly basis, which is purely for your own needs. Volunteering is about simple living, and so your stipend is calculated according to the local economy to ensure that you are not living above the standards of the local community around you.
  • Training: All volunteers setting out on an adventure with us receive pre-departure training to help you prepare for the experience ahead. This training covers all the areas you need to think about before you pack your bags. It gives you time to focus and prioritise, and provides you with the knowledge and information you need in order to have a safe, fulfilling and enjoyable adventure. On arrival at your project you will also receive orientation training which will help you to better understand the local culture and support you as you find your way around this new country. On your return we will also support you as you readapt to life back home. We encourage you to keep in contact with us and consider opportunities for you to stay connected to the work you have been part of with Agapé. In addition to all of this training you will also receive a comprehensive welcome pack full of useful information on your project, the country and the culture, as well as detailed safety and communication lists.
  • Support: Agapé Adventures respects that each person is unique, and thus has different needs, and we endeavour to meet those genuine needs as effectively as we can. All volunteers are supported by Agapé every step of the way. You will be allocated a line manager to assist you in the day to day aspects of your adventure and staff at Agapé’s main base who will be available 24/7 for any out of hours emergencies. All staff involved in supporting you, work together to provide coordinated, personal and professional support throughout your adventure. 
  • Adventure Package: During your time in project we will coordinate an exiting adventure package for you. Where possible we try to tailor this to your interests, otherwise this will be a group event with other volunteers. A time to do something completely different and enjoy the country in which you're living in a whole new way! Here in Ireland the adventure package will be discussed with you all as a group during the first few months of your time in project. 
  • Airport Collection & Drop Off:  When you land into the airport we will make sure that someone is there to meet you and bring you to your project base. We will also provide assistance in returning you to the airport at the end of your time to help you take back all those gifts you've picked up along the way!

What Isn't Included

  • Visa
  • Flights
  • Insurance

What will I do?:

You will be working alongside the staff team and supporting the clients in this project,  so good people skills are essential to this role, some previous experience of community support work & / or agriculture will also be highly beneficial though not essential.

Your core duties will cover three primary areas: Conservation, Agriculture & Horticulture.

Basic tasks will include:

  • Assist in the creation of an all weather riding arena which will be used for therapeutic education by the clients and their children.
  • Repairing fences / dry stone walls
  • Assisting with the planting / growth of the vegetables which are used in the project centre
  • Daily care of the livestock, and education in basic animal care to the clients as part of their rehabilitation care.
  • Preserve natural areas of woodland and pasture as a natural habitat for wildlife
  • Ensure all grazing areas are safe and clean

The Local Area

The Goyt Valley is located in the Peak District National Park in the heart of England and combines some of the most picturesque valley, moorland, river and reservoir scenery to be found in the United Kingdom. Each year thousands of visitors travel to the valley from near and far to experience the unique landscape.
Even the most imaginative of visitors to the Goyt Valley will find it difficult to picture how different the area must have looked before the construction of the two reservoirs.

Before the reservoirs were built the valley was home to a thriving community with many farms, a paint works, a railway, a Victorian mansion, coal mines, a quarry, a school and even a gunpowder factory.

Glimpses of this past life remain in the valley including the romantic ruins of Errwood Hall, the paths that follow the route of the old Cromford and High Peak railway line and Goytsclough Quarry.

Map of the Area

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Interested?:

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