Ryan Burton, aged 32, says he’s learned a lot in two months working as a farm labourer at Gortilea in Claudy, which has just received a £9,900 grant from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme.
Ryan, who has a learning disability, is one of those benefiting from the project.
He is now working towards Level 1 LANTRA training in farm based activities.
“I love looking after the animals and I’m really looking forward to lambing season which will be very busy. I also like the physical work and machinery.
“I enjoy working in small groups as at times I feel I can’t cope so well in larger group environments. I enjoy the craic with the other men at the farm, and I always sleep well after a hard day’s work.
“I learn something different every day I spend there. I really look forward to a Tuesday when I come to the farm every week.”
Claire McMonagle, Gortilea’s Occupational Therapist, said: “Here at Gortilea, Ryan is able to make good use of all the energy that was pent up inside by doing horticultural work. And he has a real love of nature and animals, so this is an ideal place for him to develop skills and confidence. He is very keen to learn.”
Ms McGonagle said: “As an occupational therapist, I can see that Gortilea is a great alternative to traditional day care provision. Ryan and others like him need a wide range of day opportunities that offer choices, in an environment that supports them to flourish and reach their goals, and Gortilea is ideal for that.”
If you are interested in the farm’s service check out the Gortilea Social Farm CIC Facebook page.