Become a friend of Autism Together farm

Did you know that Autism Together has its own farm, where staff and the people we support care for over 80 animals every day?

Nestled in 19 acres of our Raby site, our alpacas, pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, guinea pigs and rabbits keep everyone busy and entertained. The farm is a beautiful, safe and peaceful environment set within a site loaned to Autism Together by landowners The Leverhulme Trust.

Now we’d like to offer you the opportunity to come with us behind the scenes at our farm – and even help us maintain and develop it for the benefit of autistic people for years to come.

Autism Together Farm is a major part of our day services at Raby Gardens and offers a range of therapeutic and skill-enhancing activities for the people we support.

Many of our farm animals were donated to us, sometimes due to people not being able to care for them any longer or because they were getting old. All of them are named by the people we support.

To become a friend
click here!

You may wonder how the farm benefits the people we support. Here are a few reasons:

  • It is very well documented that being outdoors is good for mental health.
  • Whilst on the farm, the people we support are taking some form of exercise.
  • The farm is so large and varied, so there are many different tasks for everyone to enjoy and get involved in.
  • Spending time with, stroking and feeding animals can be very therapeutic for many autistic people.
  • Skills learnt on the farm are regularly assessed and developed, leading to increased independence for individuals.
  • The people we support can work towards awards and qualifications whilst working on the farm. One individual recently passed a tractor-training course and now helps out with the heavy-lifting jobs on the farm.
  • The people we support can safely explore the surroundings without the dangers of busy roads or the stress of built-up environments.

The farm is used daily by people who attend our Day Services, and by the people we support who live on the site. Once a year, our Children and Family Service holds a fun day at the farm, where families with autistic children can come together and enjoy a fun day out, knowing that their children are in a safe environment where they can feel free to express and enjoy themselves. It is a space where friendships and support networks can be formed.

So, you can see that the farm is hugely important to our organisation and especially to the people we support. We want to make sure that continues into the future.Inevitably, it can be costly to keep the farm fully staffed, running smoothly, and all the animals fed, watered and safe. These costs include:

  • £10,000 a year for animal feed.
  • Around £600 a year, on average, for vet fees. Sometime we will have unexpected veterinary bills. Last year, for example, our young alpaca, Alfie, needed a life-saving operation on his leg. This cost the charity an additional £3,000 in vet bills.
  • Repair and maintenance of the animals’ homes, due to wear-and-tear, is a continual cost.
  • So, in order to preserve and develop this unique activity, we have decided to develop a membership scheme for the farm.

For an annual fee of just £60 you can become a member of our “Friends of Autism Together Farm” helping to secure the future development of this amazing facility, safe in the knowledge that your money is going directly to support the work of Autism Together Farm.

In return for this annual membership, you will receive:

  • A “Friend of Autism Together Farm” certificate.
  • A welcome newsletter.
  • An information sheet and picture of your chosen animal.
  • The chance to attend an annual open day of the farm, which is not usually open to the general public to visit.
  • The opportunity to be part of two annual working days, where Friends Of Autism Together Farm will be invited to experience different activities involved with the running of the farm.
  • A bi-annual digital newsletter, updating you on what’s happening on the farm, stories from the people we support and some inside information on our animals. For example, you will hear first-hand how young Alfie the alpaca is progressing, and how some of our pigs were brought up, and even trained, in someone’s house!
  • An annual update on your chosen animal.
  • A Christmas card from your chosen animal.