When a co-farmer joins FarmAbility we ask them, their family and their carers what they do now, what they have done in the past and what they would like to do in the future (their long-term goal or goals). Co-farmers are then given a chance to try each of the different activities that we do at the farm, which also gives programme leaders and Occupational Therapists an opportunity to assess areas of strength and need. Co-farmers are then supported to set short-term goals that start to work towards what they have identified they would like to do in the future (their long-term goal or goals).
For some co-farmers, their short-term goal might be staying for a whole FarmAbility session; for another co-farmer it could be making friends and creating social connections that extend outside FarmAbility; for another co-farmer it could be building transferable skills for the workplace.
To enable co-farmers to achieve their goals, we use meaningful occupations on the farm as tools to support their progression. For example, if a co-farmer is working on being able to stay at the farm for a full session or day, we might use their favourite activity as a motivation, matching them with other co-farmers and staff to support their engagement. If a co-farmer wants to make friends, we will engage them in activities that involve team work and communication with other co-farmers. If a co-farmer wants to find work, we will engage them in activities that encourage them to take more responsibility, and that challenge their communication and problem-solving skills.
Co-farmers have yearly reviews at FarmAbility. This is an opportunity for us to share what co-farmers have been doing and all their successes with family and support workers. It is also an opportunity for co-farmers, their family and support workers to tell us what they think. We then all work together to help co-farmers decide what they would like to work on over the coming year.