It is estimated that up to 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability. In Wiltshire, young people with learning disabilities are taught at special needs schools and mainstream schools with special resources. When they are 16 they can move to specialist colleges such as Fairfield Farm College in Dilton Marsh or other colleges with specialist facilities. Once they leave these specialist environments there is often nowhere locally where they can continue to learn the skills to work in a structured way. Yet, many people with a learning disability, with the right support, make a valuable contribution to your organisation.
In the late 1990’s, parents of young adults with learning disabilities realised the difficulty presented by the absence of facilities and decided to form their own charity to provide a working occupation for their sons and others like them.
In 2000 a Charitable Limited Company was formed and went on to become a registered charity in the same year. It took six years of dedicated fundraising to start the project but on 27th May 2006 a tea room was opened.
A year later the charity had chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits and goats along with a miniature Shetland pony living outside and in May 2008 the animal park was officially opened.
The charity has now increased the number of animals and introduced a children’s play area, fairy wood and a land train. The cafe provides freshly cooked lunches, homemade cakes and refreshments and has approximately 700 visitors per week.
In 2017, Trustees of The Hope Nature Centre approached Fairfield Farm College, a charity with similar objectives in working to support young people with learning disabilities, to formally merge to form a single charity. The merger took place on 1st October 2018 and operates under Fairfield Farm Trust and continues to provide training opportunities for young adults with learning difficulties.
Some of our accolades include:
- Hope Nature Centre was one of 3 finalists for “Attraction of the Year” in the Wiltshire Life 2014 awards and one of the Centre’s employees was one of three finalists for “Young Achiever of the Year” in the same awards
- The charity is extremely proud to have been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2011.
- Hope Nature Centre was awarded the Wiltshire Council’s CVS Award for the “Most Inclusive Approach” in 2011..
- Hope Nature Centre’s fabulous gardens have been recognised many times in the Trowbridge in Bloom competition, most recently having been awarded: 2012 – second place in the Community Projects section; 2010 – third place in the Community Projects section, first place in the Floral Display section and first place in the Window Box section; and three awards in 2007.
- Hope Nature Centre has been ‘Charity of the Year’ for the Shires Shopping Mall and Bradford on Avon and is the nominated charity for the Warminster Brass Band.
Welcome to the Hope Nature Centre, a fun family day out, set in 15 acres of Southwick Country Park near Trowbridge. Come and join us for a spot of Breakfast or Lunch in our Cafe, before exploring our Animal Park. Come and see a variety of animals including; Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Donkeys and much more. Open 7 days a week so come along for an afternoon of fun.
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