Acorn Community care is a local charity set in an 8 acre smallholding in Norton. The charity provides care and support for people with learning and physical disabilities through a wide range of activities at the farm, as well as enabling people with such challenges to live independently within our community.
The charity was the ‘brain child’ of Chris Holliday who realised back in 1999, whilst working at a secure unit, that people with learning disabilities were not being provided with the appropriate care that they deserved. Chris and his partner Ruth decided to take action and started fundraising.
The charity was formed in 2001 when they received a £150,000 grant from the government to set up a recycling service with three of the charity’s first clients. They starting provided gardening services for Ryedale residents, helped by Ryedale District Council who gave them a lawnmower and a strimmer—which they still have to this day.
It was whilst trimming trees at Whinflower Hall in Norton that they discovered the tenancy was coming up for renewal and that there was the possibility of starting something very new and unique for North Yorkshire. Hence the name ‘Acorn’ – from little acorns mighty oak trees are grown!
Fast forward to 2021 and the charity now has 20 clients using its day services on the farm and another 7 clients living in the community, all supported by 32 members of staff and 2 volunteers.
Whilst at the farm, clients get to help, feed and care for the various animals onsite ranging from pigs to Alpacas, as well as an impressive range of chickens and goats.
There is a prolific market garden producing year- round vegetables and fruits from its polytunnel and raised beds, and there is always a glut of free range eggs. Clients also benefit from a range of workshops in subjects such as welding, car mechanics and general wood working activities.
In the future the charity is looking to expand its services to provide more bespoke care for clients with more complex care needs. They are also looking to raise funds via a ‘Friends of Acorn‘ scheme and may even venture into a ‘pop up’ charity shop.
Acorn Community Care tries to recruit staff from the local area so keep an eye out in the Handy Mag and check out their Facebook page if you fancy a change of career or a change of scene. Jane Tobin, HR Manager says: “Our clients are at the very heart of everything we do and our staff are at the core of the care that we provide. It’s a rewarding way of earning a living with excellent staff benefits as well as having some fun at the same time.”
Volunteers are always welcome so get in touch by contacting Acorn on: 01653 699922
or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane said: “We are always looking for willing volunteers to assist on the farm or with the metal and woodworking centres. There is no long-term commitment or minimum hours from volunteers and so if we have piqued your interest, please arrange to come along and take a look at what we do to help you decide if it’s for you.”