Pete is diagnosed as having a learning disability. He lives with his Dad and his brother, who has 2 dogs. Despite this full house, Pete would undoubtedly be socially deprived and lack the communication and interaction he craves without his time at FarmAbility. He has made many good friends whom he really looks forward to seeing each week. He is a very sociable person and loves to have a joke and a laugh with the different co-farmers, volunteers and staff. Outside of FarmAbility, Pete does very little in his week.
Pete absolutely loves coming to FarmAbility and has been doing so for many years; he enjoys many activities that we offer but especially enjoys woodwork and gardening. We operate an ‘outreach programme’ going to different farms and gardens and Pete gets very excited visiting a different location, getting to meet and greet new people.
He communicates well although he has a very limited vocabulary and needs to be given one instruction at a time – allowing him time to process information. Our Programme Leaders are skilled in understanding the needs of each of our co-farmers and will ensure that Pete has time to digest information, check his understanding and allowing him agency in how he tackles activities. Physically, Pete is very capable of doing manual work as he has good strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. One area that we work on with Pete is with his ability to concentrate and keep his focus during a task, pacing himself and engaging his brain before initiating a task. He can often be very motivated to get going but can launch into a something without thinking about it beforehand! Pete can now carry out many simple jobs in woodwork, for example, breaking up pallets, taking out nails and sawing in a straight line. Pete is equally able to carry out simple jobs in the garden independently, such as weeding, watering the strawberries, grapes and cucumbers in the poly tunnels and wood chipping the paths in the garden. Pete often needs assistance with remembering the names of plants and the sequence of steps in certain tasks but has come such a long way since we first worked with him. He will often ask questions about things he doesn’t fully comprehend and we will break things down for him, helping him understand complex information.
Pete also very much enjoys cooking and joins in these activities at FarmAbility when we have the facilities to prepare a simple wholesome meal for co-farmers at lunchtime. At home he needs help with cooking and buying food, but from what he tells us, we believe this to be largely unhealthy snack foods to supplement the microwave meal his family feed him each evening. It feels like the only healthy food Pete gets is when he is at the farm.
Some things that Pete doesn’t like are people shouting; his taxi being late; or people saying things to him about his personal hygiene. If someone is shouting on the farm, we guide him away from the situation and reassure him that it is ok. When Pete’s taxi is occasionally late, we explain that sometimes these things happen, but we are glad he is now with us at the farm and encourage him to settle into the day. We know how much Pete looks forward to his time spent at FarmAbility so we understand that any encroachments into this time is upsetting for Pete.
Pete is a massive football fan and yet had never been there to watch a match, that is until FarmAbility arranged this for him a few years back, which he still talks about to date!
Pete has made some great progress across many areas over the years that he has been with FarmAbility. He gains companionship, a sense of belonging and purpose, positive feedback and encouragement as well as a chance to develop his skills and be involved in meaningful occupations. It is lovely to see Pete’s confidence, independence and enjoyment increase as his capacity to carry out many activities grows, in a supportive environment where he thrives.