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Care Farm

Do you need to learn some new skills, get some work experience or meet some new friends?

Here at Woolly Mammals Care Farm we can offer you all of the above and much more.

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What We Are

Woolly Mammals Care Farm runs alongside a working fibre farm that breeds champion, pedigree alpacas and angora goats and has a small flock of Shetland sheep.

We offer a work based training, skill building service to adults with individual needs, engaging them in farm activities, tending to the animals and farm related crafts.

On our fibre farm there is always a lot to do! When we are not busy tending to our alpacas, goats and sheep, there’s the farm itself with fencing, paddock building, maintenance, gardening as well as many stimulating and enjoyable projects!

Those who attend the farm are involved in the whole process which is assisting with the matings, looking after the pregnant animals, preparing the birthing kit, being on “birth watch”, looking after the newborns, halter training the youngsters, shearing (the harvest), product creation and finally selling their wares on the farm or at the local market.

For those who are not confident working with the herd animals, we have pigs, dogs, cats and alpaca guinea pigs that are all well-handled and friendly, who require regular grooming and care.

Spending the day at Woolly Mammals Care Farm always proves a rewarding experience and the opportunity to interact with our animals so closely creates a real connection.

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Our Ethos

At Woolly Mammals Care Farm we have high expectations of our helpers. Our philosophy is to encourage you to have high expectations of yourselves. We try to create a work-based environment and therefore apply the rules and structure an employer would. We focus on:

  • trying our hardest
  • following instruction
  • working safely
  • working as part of a team work
  • being professional

Our Backgrounds

Urcuchillay Alpacas, Fibre of the Gods and Woolly Mammals Care Farm are owned and run by Carla Cortesi and Andre Shaw.

Carla and Andre became alpaca breeders when living in New Zealand. Fusing their interest in alpaca breeding and their skill sets from previous careers in land management, teaching and special needs, Andre and Carla have created the perfect environment not only for their award-winning animals, but one that also offers a fantastic experiential and learning opportunity for adults with individual needs.

Code of Practice

In 2014 the farm qualified for the Care Farming UK Code of Practice. This is a voluntary code that was created by Care Farming UK to help set a standard across the country and avoid exploitation of service users. The Board assess individual care farms on how the business itself is run, client-centred services, tasks and activities, as well as training and skills development.

Activities Woolly Mammals Offer

Animal Care: Daily feeding as well as regular weighing, body scoring, worming and halter training.

Farm Maintenance: Fencing, building paddocks, sheds and shelters, painting, concreting, paddock spraying and much more.

Gardening: A large vegetable garden that includes fruit and vegetables, an orchard and a poly-tunnel, the garden needs regular work. This is a great way to get fit and be connected to the cooking.

Cooking: All cooking is done using produce from the garden where we turn the harvest into soup, sauces, jams and chutneys.

ICT: This is where we learn about charts and graphs by entering in animals weights and ear tag numbers, we research animal care improving our research skills, and we type recipes, flyers and much more.

General Craft: We try to be creative with the resources on the farm and where possible we turn fleece, flowers, plants and wood into works of art!

Sewing: With four electric sewing machines that are all speed controlled and can be used without a pedal we find these are great for people who were frightened of other machines and have found the results to be inspirational.

Woodwork Projects: In our custom built workshop using hand held tools or machinery (under strict supervision and 1:1 ratio) we assist with the creation of a variety of products, e.g. bug boxes, place-mats, bowls, jigsaw puzzles and more to either be sold on open days or to take home.

Fleece Work: In our craft classroom we work with the fibre of the animals we have nurtured learning to first clean the fleeces ready for carding, wet and dry felting, spinning, crocheting, weaving and knitting the fleeces.

Beehives: We perform regular hive maintenance that includes honey collection and bottling, as well as making other honey bi-products.

Juice making: This is a yearly highlight that everyone enjoys. A lot of teamwork is required and we all enjoy the excitement of this time of year.

AQA Awards

We are an AQA Accredited Training Centre and offer the opportunity for unit awards as part of the Unit Award Scheme. AQA explain this as “The Unit Award Scheme (UAS) is a unique recording of achievement scheme, rather than a qualification. It offers everyone the opportunity to have their achievements formally recognised – no matter what this is, how old they are, how long it takes or how small the learning step might be.”

UAS can be used with most of the Entry Level Certificates (ELC) and  Personal and Social Education (PSE) qualifications. This approach can be used:

  • as a stepping stone towards achieving a full qualification
  • to accredit the work done by students who have not managed to complete enough units to gain the overall qualification.

What AQA Unit Awards does Woolly Mammals offer?

We offer 200 core units ranging from pre-entry level to level three in the following areas:

  • animal care;
  • gardening;
  • cooking;
  • building;
  • arts and crafts; and
  • woodwork

For further information on this scheme please visit http://www.aqa.org.uk/programmes/unit-award-scheme.

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Selling our wares

We have just revamped our Woolly Mammals Craft Room where we have a dedicated space to create and sell our wares.

Whilst craft may be seen by some as a hobby, we believe the craft teaches many vital life and work-ready skills such as:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Costing, budgeting and profit margins
  • Ability to work in a group on group projects
  • Creativity
  • Repetitive work
  • Asking for assistance when required
  • Working independently when able
  • Being competent in following directions
  • Having confidence in tackling a set task
  • Learning to cope with disappointment
  • Learning to cope with frustration
  • Serving the public; and
  • Community projects.

We provide the option of making something individual to sell on any of the open days at your own cost where the profit is your own, or contribute towards a group project where any money earnt from selling the products is reinvested back for purchasing more materials, equipment or machinery to continue to improve your skills.

Opening hours

We are open Monday to Thursday from 9.30 am until 3.00 pm. The first half of the day is animal feed and a farm job (weather permitting) and in the afternoon there is usually an indoor craft group. For those who wish to continue outside there is always farm maintenance, animal care and gardening (weather permitting).

Costings

Funding may be provided through direct payments, social services or private funding. We operate on a ratio of 3:1 and charge £51.77 per day for this or £26 per half day.

We find the 3:1 ratio provides the attention and care required for each person to achieve, but still gives a social aspect and group work that can be beneficial. We do believe in creating a workplace environment and therefore team work is encouraged. However for intricate work we do go to a ratio of 2:1 and for machinery 1:1.

We open at 9.30 am and finish at 3.00 pm and this rate includes tea, coffee, juice, the occasional healthy snack and basic crafts.

There are small extra charges for some cooking, woodwork and craft.

We do have very limited places and like to match people by skills and personalities, so we do meet with you first before a free trial day is offered. We like the placements to succeed and therefore are honest if we do not think this is a suitable environment for you and if we think we cannot cater for your needs.

How to Visit

Due to the nature of the work we do, we request no one turns up without an appointment, therefore please email me at carla@woollymammals.co.uk for an appointment or phone on 07496 479315.

We're social animals

Urcuchillay Alpacas added a new photo.

Congratulations to father and son dream team Andre and Blade Shaw with Hemiccoyo Matrix of Urcuchillay with his two girls who were awarded first in their age groups, then Champion Light and Reserve Champion Light and his black boy Axel being awarded...