Smiles for Miles Sensory Farm, Eridge
Suzi Lock, AirS Village Agent Reports Back
Suzi paid a visit to ‘Smiles for Miles’ sensory farm in Eridge, East Sussex. The aim of this project is to provide enriching, sensory experiences for those living with mental health and/or learning difficulties as well as mild physical disabilities. The farm has a variety of rescue animals including ponies, goats, rabbits, ducks, Rheas (a type of small ostrich) and a guinea pig. The farm is currently awaiting the arrival of a pig – who does not like mud! The project offers the opportunity for people to take the goats on a walk around the beautiful woodland area and meet the very friendly Rheas who wander freely.
Also welcomed are volunteers who donate their time to help maintain the site, care for the animals and more recently helping to create a ‘Green Thumbs’ growing area to enable both children and adults the chance to learn how to grow their own food and the resulting benefits. In addition to this there are a couple of regular groups who pay for bespoke sessions to experience the wonder of this lovely project:
The Director has successfully secured funding for a wonderful sensory room to provide an enriching experience for young people with Autism which is currently being constructed. As with any project of this kind there are always new ideas to discuss, one of which is the formation of a group for visitors to learn new skills and make new friends whilst constructing animal shelters and other useful structures. The idea is based on the successful ‘Men’s shed’ format (but is not just for men!)
Suzi is supporting this project to apply for a Making it Happen ‘Next Steps’ grant so the next stage of development can commence. She will also support the Director, and wider team of volunteers, to forge new relationships with local farmers to access surplus fruit and vegetable for the animals to enjoy, whilst tackling food waste in the process.
All in all this wonderful project open to residents of Crowborough looks set to grow and develop into something even more special than it is now!
For the Smiles for Miles Facebook Page click here: Smiles For Miles Sensory Farming CIC | Facebook
For more information on Making it Happen go to our website: Making It Happen – More Information | Action in rural Sussex