Ultra supporting therapy services at High Mead Farm

28 July 2020

Ultra’s COVID-19 Fund has donated £4,000 to support “virtual" services at High Mead Farm, to help with social distancing and to help fund sanitizing stations. Activities include “live-streaming" with the animals and volunteers so that Co-Farmers (members of the public living with mental and physical health issues) who cannot be physically present can still experience the activities of the farm from the safety of their own homes, offering a feeling of connection and routine back to those whose lives have been so severely disrupted.

High Mead Farm is a community interest (not-for-profit) farm in Longham, Ferndown, Dorset only 2.5 miles from our office. High Mead takes referrals from Social Services and offers a day service providing Co-Farmers the opportunities of working with animals, soil, nature, arts, crafts and learn trade skills as a form of therapy. The farm is also open to the public for visits, meeting the farm animals and sells fresh seasonal vegetables, honey, eggs & kindling.

Due to COVID-19, High Mead Farm was unable to operate as a therapeutic farm due to the strict measures required to be able to function safely whilst supporting Co-Farmers. Many of them are at high risk of COVID-19 due to underlying conditions. Co-Farmers with Downs Syndrome are unable to maintain social distancing, Co-Farmers with a history of psychosis or Autism find the use of PPE very unsettling, and the additional workload of sanitising all tools and work areas after use - requires an army of volunteers.

Ultra values demonstrated:

Sharing – Ultra staff shared know-how by setting up card payment systems and e-commerce website functionality to facilitate taking cashless payments both in person and over the web. Ultra donated older PCs and laptops to upgrade the current IT.

Innovating – Ultra staff helped install a new mesh Wi-Fi system to provide Wi-Fi to the fields around the farm. This enabled the provision of free “live-streamed" services to people who cannot physically visit the farm but would benefit from interaction with the animals, seeing the farm and the volunteers.

For more information on High Mead Farm, please see here: http://highmeadfarm.org.uk/