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A Social Enterprise providing community based support for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism in the South West

The Broadclyst Community Farm Project

For the past our CEO, Andy Robinson, has been developing You First's involvement in the Broadclyst Community Farm Project, based in Devon. Andy has today received written confirmation that the Partnership leading this projecting have been successful in their application for National Lottery Community Fund funding.

The Broadclyst Community Farm Project is a partnership of five organisations – Broadclyst Community Farm Ltd (a community benefit society), Devon Link-Up (a registered charity), The National Trust (a registered charity), St Sidwell’s Community Centre (a registered charity) and You First Support Services (a community interest company). We have come together to realise our shared goal which is to create a land-based learning centre on the outskirts of Exeter, Devon, where people with learning disabilities and/or autism can engage in meaningful activity and access support on a pathway into work with all the social, personal and economic benefits this brings. The centre will also provide benefit and services to the wider community.

This new facility is needed because too many people with a learning disability or autism remain unable to access the support and care they need to realise their ambitions. Only 8.6% of people in Devon with a learning disability were in paid employment in 2018 and people with learning disabilities have markedly poorer physical and mental health than their non-disabled peers in the county.

New approaches are needed – and are developing – to tackle these problems by providing training and development tailored to the individual, but facilities and resources that can meet this need are thin on the ground. We have visited and researched other operations offering training for people with learning disabilities and/or autism in Devon, Somerset and further afield and we have found a highly variable picture, with too many people placed in limiting situations and unable to grow. We have also found some beacons of good practice and we have developed positive partnerships with these.

Our aim is to provide meaningful and purposeful day activities that are ambitious for people with learning disabilities and/or autism, that lead to people developing genuine community connections, growing in self-esteem, self-belief and confidence, and moving into volunteering or paid employment, thus becoming less reliant on support services. 

We are supporting disadvantaged people to become empowered and autonomous and to achieve things in their own way, in their own time and on their own terms. We aim to show that by challenging social and cultural attitudes, and by placing less expectations on people with intellectual disabilities to "be like us" or "work as we do", then the door opens for a whole new group of people to find meaningful engagement and employment. We will be a place that demonstrates an innovative and practical way of enabling people with learning disabilities and/or autism to truly connect with their local community. The Broadclyst Community Farm Project will deliver this core work through a range of trading enterprises that will also offer valuable services to the local community.

The You First website will soon be carrying an advert for a Project Manager who will manage and coordinate the Development Phase of the Broadclyst Community Farm Project.

Clicking on any of the logos below will take you to the website of each partner involved in this innovative and exciting project.



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