My name is Jonathan Smith, I am 47 years old and a few years ago I had a dream. I used to work in a fantastic club called the Parkway Club which was based at Park House on Riversley Road in Nuneaton. This club used to meet every Wednesday evening for a few hours and was for people with learning disabilities and difficulties. I loved this club and so did all of the staff and club members. It was a fun social club which I genuinely felt made a difference to people’s lives. One day sadly, due to the economic climate the funding was cut by the council, the club had to shut and the building was sold. I am a great believer in action and so when I saw a sign at a local country show I knew exactly what I was going to do, I was going to start a Care Farm!
‘Care Farming is the therapeutic use of farming practises’, ’Care farms provide health, social or educational care services for individuals from one or a range of vulnerable groups’. I have discovered there are no two Care Farms the same, all I have seen are amazing and if I can achieve a fraction of what they have I will be a happy man. All seem to grow people’s potential and also their smiles!
Armed with my new dream I started out with many meetings, viewing premises, chats with local residents, council staff and my bank manager. Due to working full time in the fire and rescue service and my finances being limited, I knew I needed to have support whilst on duty and premises that needed a lot of TLC so I could afford it! I found the perfect place in Oldbury which is on the outskirts of Hartshill, Nuneaton. I didn’t quite know how much work would be involved in the property as part was derelict but finally three years later the houses were complete and it was time to move outside to build the dream.
To save a lot of typing and risking the danger of you falling into a coma reading this I will try to tell the rest of my story with photos and maybe the odd video. There are the good, the bad and the painful and of course the funny but nothing beats the birth of a lamb in the early hours of the morning in a silent world with just you and nature. I also apologise if I appear on a lot of the pictures to begin with but I will not be embarrassed about how excited I am about this project especially as it is coming to fruition.
Please join me in my venture and hopefully see my dream become a reality, watch out for the smiles!