Care home's new mini-farm is a delight for residents
- Credit: Kingsley Healthcare
A new mini-farm is taking shape at a care home near Woodbridge, with ducks, chickens and bantams all arriving.
Residents at Allonsfield House nursing home, in Campsea Ashe, can now take a short stroll to their very own smallholding.
Lila Ballard previously lived in Hampshire, so the Suffolk countryside is a new experience for her.
She said: “I love walking every day and the farm is brilliant. I have watched it develop week by week since I have been here.”
The latest arrivals at the farm are silver Appleyard miniature ducks and a range of native breed chickens and bantams.
Tiny chicks have been hatching from eggs in the farm's incubators, and more animals are due to arrive over the summer.
Farm manager Mason Worsfold-Gregg said: "“In the coming weeks, as we build the pens, we will be introducing Norfolk horn sheep, golden Guernsey goats and a British Saddleback pig to the farm.”
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Mr Worsfold-Gregg has studied biology and conservation and previously worked at a therapy farm at a special needs school.
There are plans for a Suffolk Day celebration at the home, run by Kingsley Healthcare, on June 21.
It is hoped a range of vegetables, including broccoli, lettuces, beetroot and radishes, will be ready by then, although frosty nights have held the plants back.
Residents have enjoyed helping to plant vegetables and strawberry plants in raised beds.
There has been a lot of interest in the farm project since it was announced in March. It aims to provide therapeutic benefits to residents, including those with dementia, and will be an ideal boost after a year of Covid-19 lockdowns.
Home manager Judith Morgan-Worrall said: “It is so good for both the mental and physical health of the residents to get outside in the fresh air and enjoy the farm. Many of them grew up in rural Suffolk.
“It’s also going to supply us with lovely fresh fruit and vegetables.”
She said Allonsfield Farm was intended as a resource for the whole community and they would be getting local schools and groups involved.
“We already have people interested in becoming volunteers,” she added.
The project has seen the site come full circle, as Allonsfield House was built as a farm in the 17th century.