All the Charities Projects provide the people we support with a realistic experience of how to grow food, to rear free-range farm animals, providing them with a healthy, stress free life. All our animals are treated with respect, dignity and kindness, so that when the time comes for them to provide us with good quality meat, we are confident we have given them the best quality life possible.
The substantial Polytunnel was purchased in 2009 with joint funding from NYCC. We have used this facility to grow a variety of fruit, salads and vegetables. We use to produce to make jams, chutneys and pickles. We also used the Polytunnel for lambing for the first time in 2015.
Acorn bought 10 ewes in Nov 2008 and these produced 16 lambs the following spring. This project provided people with their first insight into how to care for a larger animal and observe young being born for the first time. We were fortunate to see some ewes giving birth during the day light hours, rather than traditionally at night. A local farmer came to give talks about how to care for lambs, especially if they needed to be bottle fed, apply tail rings, and shearing fleece during the summer. Some of our people attended a day course at Askham Bryan College in May 2009, to learn how to shear sheep.
In 2013, Paul Nicholson became a member of our ‘Friend of Acorn’ Group. Along with his uncle, Paul brought down 45 ewes to our large barn in February 2014, which produced 67 lambs. In the spring of 2015 Paul started to use the Polytunnel to rear the lambs. This project provides people with the opportunity to learn a variety of skills. Working with Paul they observe lambs being born and identify the signs when this can go wrong, what help the sheep may need and how to provide supplement milk when the ewe does not produce enough naturally.
Titus and Percy were born in 2013 and were bought from Debbie and Derek Richardson’s Moorside Alpaca Herd in Kirkbymoorside. These 2 animals provide people with the opportunity to go for ‘treks’ around the farm and on our local bridal ways. Once they are tame and accept the head collar and lead rein, Alpaca make wonderful companions to go for a walk and help us to keep fit. The alpacas are sheared once a year, usually in May. Their fleece is then sent to a Mill for processing into yarn. We are looking at a variety of ways to create craft activities and use this textile to develop further learning opportunities.
We are in the process of redesigning our poly-tunnel which was used last year for housing our lambs. Our aim is to fill it with soft fruits and trees, tomatoes and peppers along with veg which we aim to sell in our future shop, based on site. This again helps our service users to see how and where their food comes from.
The Training Barn
We are in the process of transforming the former barn into a Training Centre for our service users to use. We aim to have an education area, woodwork area, kitchen and dining facilities and toilets. In order to achieve this we have had to re-roof the building and replace the king post truss. Our next part of the build is to renew all of the windows and insulate the walls. We are taking photographs of the build as it progresses.
Birds of Prey
Acorn introduced this project in the spring of 2013. We now have 2 Red tails, 3 Harris Hawks, 1 Barn Owl, an American kestrel and a Peregrine Falcon. This project is great in promoting self confidence for our service users and gives them the opportunity to care for a wild animal in contrast to other projects which work with domesticated animals.
Ken Mathews became a member of the ‘Friends of Acorn’ in 2014 and provided us with expertise regarding Saddleback stock which we now have to start the project. A group went to the Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate, where they saw one of Ken’s pigs win best in show.We now have our own breeding stock of Large Blacks, Large Whites and Duroc x Pietrien pigs. All our pigs are free range and are also reared for sausages and pork which we use on the farm. We also hold an annual Hog Roast on which we use one of our own pigs. This enables our service users to learn how and where our food our food goes.
On St Davids Day, 1st March, we took delivery of five Pygmy goats. Mum and daughter plus two Billy goats and a Nanny. They are in separate parts of the farm until mum has weaned her baby. We hope to use the wool for spinning,
We were given Harvey Moon and Eric Morecambe by Jenny Brown of Aike, They are two 7yr old Shetland Ponies who are loving their time here. They share their field with Magic who is a 28yr old Welsh Mountain Pony, and Daphne a thoroughbred.