Five Acres Community Gardens CIC was set up by Debbie and Gavin Iceton, it opened in May 2019, after many months of planning around the kitchen table.  They wanted to set up a day service for young adults with special needs in our area.

They work in the transport sector and have spent many years transporting young adults to different services within the region.  They noticed that many of these services had been greatly reduced over the years and wanted to offer a unique service where the young adults could develop their skills to enable them to learn independent living and social, as well as employability skills.

They thought the use of a field to fork concept would benefit its members as they would learn all about different produce and to be taught about growing and harvesting too.  Their original idea was to create an agricultural and horticultural centre on a five acres field they had been gifted, they thought this would give the young adults a different way of learning skills.

On the 24th of June 2022 planning permission was passed by Darlington Borough Council. 21/00753/FUL

On site there will be a Community Garden which will include a sensory area that the champions could help design, this will include an area to enable explore using their sense of smell and touch, like berries and herbs and scented flowers.  We will introduce a design area incorporating colour and different styles that our Champions create themselves.  There will be accessible raised walkways throughout the site as well as raised beds to make it easy for wheelchair users to work at waist height in the polytunnels.

The project will include animals as a form of therapy to enhance mental health and wellbeing.  We noticed that after the pandemic, when a lot of our young adults were isolated, their mental health and social skills deteriorated.  Introducing animal care is a therapy aid in itself - being around horses, pigmy goats, rabbits, chickens etc is a stimulant and feel-good tonic.

The barn will be the heart of the project, this will be used as a base camp for morning briefings and will also house a kitchen, educational, sensory and wet room.

This is a Community Project, we are looking for support to get this project off the ground and any help or support you could offer would be an amazing start, this project will benefit the life of many from our champions to the local community and also local schools to all come together to be part of this amazing venture if you feel you can support us in anyway please don’t hesitate to contact me for more information or to come for a visit.

Best Wishes

Donna Martin

Fundraising and Marketing Executive

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