We are a Community Interest Company (CIC); we use any profits and assets for the public good.
Based on a beautiful farm with indoor and outdoor spaces, our ambition is to expand our provision on this relatively new premises to offer support to as much of the community as possible. Our primary aim is to provide safe, accessible but life-changing long-term opportunities for adults who have learning disabilities. We call them our “Co-Farmers”. On the farm here at Able Hands Together, we teach transferable social and employability skills to aid development and independence.
Our mission has always been to teach our Co-Farmers how to nurture livestock, grow their own produce, and from this, cook their own meals. In turn, they reap every reward from their efforts whilst stimulating minds, and most importantly, sharing consistent pastoral and emotional support.
We are based at Little Wishford Farm, just outside Salisbury. We first opened our doors as a smallholding at River Bourne Community Farm in spring 2016 with pigs, cows, goats, sheep and rabbits. Our recent move has been a very empowering challenge and our established group of Co-Farmers are already settling back into life on the farm.
Able Hands Together (CIC) focusses on therapeutic farming for the benefit of the community. Therapeutic farming practices provide health, social, or educational care services for groups of people through supervised and structured programmes of farm-related activity.
In other words, a therapeutic farm essentially combines care of the land, environment and animals, with the care of people.
Work on a therapeutic farm can help put someone’s life back on track by providing meaningful activity and a practical daily structure. The activities undertaken are real, constructive, and based on the daily, weekly and seasonal jobs around the farm. The benefits of being outdoors in the fresh air and working with animals include tangibly improved mental and physical health, a fact which is now becoming more widely recognised by health and education professionals.
We intend to pave the way for therapeutic farming to become a widely recognised and accessible option for those who would benefit from the life experiences we offer.
Having worked in social care since college, Able Hands Together Founder Laura Tween focussed her work on adults with learning disabilities. After completing her law degree it soon became apparent that the average office environment wasn’t the space for her. She became a social care consultant, and it was through this work that she found her creative energy and passion for community projects was highly suited to being a social entrepreneur.
Whilst delivering social care, Laura found that most therapeutic activities for people, like cinema or bowling, were entirely non-skills building. Laura wanted to create an offering where they could learn new skills, build their independence and work on emotional well-being simultaneously. A therapeutic farm service ticked all these boxes. Able Hands Together was established in 2015. The role of the Co-Farmer was soon born, to assist with day to day farm work, building employability, interpersonal skills, independence, and self esteem.
Both staff and Co-Farmers work together to care for the animals, & plan and maintain the smallholding to make the most of the growing season. We have just had the exciting news that Able Hands Together has been approved as an Alternative Education Centre by Wiltshire County Council for Co-Farmers aged 18 and over.
Laura is immensely proud of Able Hands Together and welcomes you to get in touch.
Head of Social Care
Nic has worked at Able Hands Together for a number of years now and is proud to have a close working relationship with all the Co-Farmers. Having previously been a social worker, Nic is well connected with Hampshire based learning disability professionals and is very knowledgeable about safeguarding and rights. She promotes our Co-Farmers’ independence and works with a skills based approach with our clients.
Head of Operations
I am Paula,
My role is Head of Operations working alongside Nic.
My responsibilities are day to day staffing/ co-ordination and support for staff, health, and safety at the service, supporting co-farmers and animal care and welfare.
My background is in learning disability residential and supported living services where I worked for nearly 30 years at all different levels from bank staff to management.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time making memories with my nephews and nieces. I also enjoy spending time exploring the Great Outdoors with my dog, Honey who loves to come to the farm every day and has nominated herself as Chief Rodent Control Officer.
I am and always have been passionate about animals, the countryside and nature so being able to combine this with my working life is perfect.
My favourite thing about the farm: being able to combine working with the co-farmers with animals and nature- the perfect job!.
Motivational Quote: Life is short- do the things that make you truly happy.
PA to the Director
Support worker Education
Support worker Growing Together
I work for a local gym and instruct kick boxing (age 4-8). Interest in animals, wildlife and I attended Spashot and completed my animal management care. I Have three children and love my reptiles I have at home.
I have a snake, tarantula, corn snake, two bearded dragons and a chicken. I love going to the gym.
I love how pretty the farm is and how lovely the people are.
Support worker Social Care
I have worked on social care for 10 years, I started at Mencap in Andover. I am an artist and love to paint, I have had an art exhibition at the farm and throughly enjoyed it.
Support worker Social Care
I support our co-farmers to care for the farm animals and other farm duties.
After working in care for 10 years or so, I decided I needed to do something more rewarding. I started working in care in Winchester, assisting people to live their own flats.
My hobbies include skateboarding, stand up paddle boarding and hiking.
I love the outdoors, and am happiest in a forest or by the sea.
My favourite things about the farm is all the smiles and fun we have, and the family feel of Able Hands Together.
I also love the animals.
Jason is the Managing Director of Commercial Business at Nottingham Trent University. Jason brings a wealth of business knowledge and advice to Able Hands Together.
All staff that support our Co Farmers have DBS checks, are employed with their employment history and references checked. They are trained in safeguarding, Health and Safety and Equality and Diversity. Staff receive ongoing supervision and have access to further training.