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Plans have been submitted for a community farm offering therapeutic courses on the outskirts of Wisbech

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Ambitious plans to create a community farm in Fenland offering therapeutic support for children, young people and adults have taken a step forward.

Plans have now been submitted for a community farm in Wisbech. (5454401)
Plans have now been submitted for a community farm in Wisbech. (5454401)

People and Animals UK - a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, has now submitted an application to create a therapeutic facility on land off Lynn Road in Walton Highway.

Katie Bristow, first came up with the idea of a community farm in 2015, and has already been offering outreach-based community programmes which she said have been highly successful.

The application seeks permission to create a community farm which will provide animal and land-based activities, education and skills development opportunities for vulnerable children, young people and adults.

It aims to to support and enhance the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of people living in Wisbech.

Plans have been submitted for a community farm on the outskirts of Wisbech. (5458711)
Plans have been submitted for a community farm on the outskirts of Wisbech. (5458711)

A design and access statement submitted with the planning application to West Norfolk Borough Council, said key outcomes include: improved community cohesion, opportunities for those most vulnerable, lowered levels of social isolation and social anxiety, raised aspirations, life skill development for improved access to education and employment and improved access to statutory services.

The application seeks permission to build a 26ft by 36ft canopy shed and six standard mobile buildings, which will be timber clad and are needed to allow use of the site all year round. These buildings will be wheelchair friendly and accessible to all. There will also be other buildings including field shelters and polytunnels.

The statement adds: “This is a small-scale farm site, not a commercial entity. We are looking to have a small team of animals to support our therapeutic activities, and take into consideration the noise levels, odour and waste of the species selected including: five sheep, three ponies, five goats, two pigs, small animals including rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and ducks and a wildlife conservation area.”

The activities will be tailored to meet the needs of individuals with their life goals and ambitions in mind to overcome barriers to well-being long-term.

Staff includes a vet nurse, animal welfare expert, animal behaviourist and trainer, horticultural therapist, landscape gardener, community engagement officer and therapist.

The statement said: “People and Animals is passionate about involving the community and local stakeholders in the development of this site.

“With ongoing consultation and direct involvement from our beneficiaries, this project is planned by our community, for our community. Our new centre has been designed by our community-led steering group.

“Through current activities, we have identified that there could be as many as700 vulnerable people of all ages, living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Wisbech and the surrounding area, who could benefit from the more intensive therapeutic support that the new centre could provide on their journey towards independence.”

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