Western Care empowers people with a wide range of learning and associated disabilities in County Mayo to live full and satisfied lives as equal citizens. It is a voluntary organisation, made up of parents/family members, service users, staff, supporters, and volunteers .
Social farming is based on spending time in the natural environment of the farm and encompasses two other key elements: meaningful activity and social connection. A number of people from Western Care have participated in social farming over the past 2 years, with many benefits. People enjoy farm life, meeting new people, and spending time in the outdoors and with nature. People make new friends and develop new skills and new experiences. The social farming project helps Western Care members:
- Develop occupational and life skills from undertaking farm based activities
- Increase social and interpersonal skills from working alongside others in a supportive environment
- Improve physical health, mental health, and well-being from being active and spending time in the fresh air, in nature, working with animals and plants
- Develop a sense of achievement from having made a positive contribution
- Increase their self-esteem, confidence, sense of purpose, and vitality
- Develop new interests in areas such as gardening, animal welfare, nature, heritage, etc.
- Develop social relationships and connections with the farmer and their family, and improve wider community connections and an expanded social circle
Western Care currently works with 3 farms in Mayo, providing 8 people with an opportunity to participate in social farming. You can help expand this project to fund additional placements for people around the county by donating to Western Care.