Project information


FarmAbility brings adults with autism and learning disabilities to a working farm in Oxfordshire, where they take part in meaningful activities such as animal husbandry, gardening and seasonal tasks. Working in small groups, co-farmers gain a real sense of purpose and achievement.


Charity information: Farm Inspiration Trust

Farm Inspiration Trust
  • Need


    Adults with autism and learning disabilities don't have enough opportunities to get involved in the meaningful activities so many others take for granted. Additionally, many of the opportunities they do have don't give them enough of a chance to get exercise or spend time outdoors: often they are computer- or screen-based. While these have their purposes, people with ALD can get a lot from spending time outside doing farm-based activities.


    FarmAbility brings co-farmers to a working farm where they work in small groups to do meaningful activities, working with animals, in the gardens, or with all of the other things which the farm uses.
    Not only do co-farmers get to work outdoors, they also get to do things which they often wouldn't otherwise have a chance to do anywhere else: getting to know nature, livestock and a first-hand knowledge of the seasons.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To give adults with autism and learning disabilities access to meaningful activities


    » Bring adults to a working farm in Oxfordshire to work in small groups on meaningful activities such as animal husbandry, gardening and seasonal jobs

    What success will look like

    We are currently running a Health & Social Outcomes pilot project, using validated assessment measures, to monitor and measure progress made whilst on the farm.

  • Impact


    Co-farmers will experience improved health and well-being: as well as providing physical and mental activities which challenge them, staff include occupational therapists who ensure that all activities are therapeutic and beneficial to those who join us.
    Co-farmers learn and develop new skills, practiced in the safe environment of the farm, which they will take back into the rest of their lives. This makes a real difference to their families, friends, and communities.


    Risks to the project come largely from the nature of working on a farm, which can obviously be affected by the weather, biosecurity and regulatory requirements. We have good relationships with other farms and locations which we are always developing to ensure we have a secure location and activities for our co-farmers.

    We also have a very experienced team of programme leaders, backed by a management team who work with the farm to ensure that any possible issues are identified in plenty of time


    We have a history of contacting donors - this is either with update emails, letters or newsletters. We will use this experience to ensure that donors receive six-monthly updates on how our programme is progressing.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £5,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Co-farmer subsidies Subsidising two co-farmers with limited financial means for one year
  • Background


    The Farm Inspiration Trust and FarmAbility are based on a farm six miles from the centre of Oxford. The farm is run by FAI Farms, who have kindly donated the location and logistical support to us every year since we opened. Co-farmers join us from around Oxfordshire and beyond: we have an excellent local reputation and their families


    With care budgets being cut all the time, the co-farmers who will benefit from this project most are those who have lost some of their support. As we are in the countryside away from public transport (which isn't always a possibility for our co-farmers), most of our co-farmers have to travel to us by taxis. On top of what we have to charge co-farmers, this can prevent people from coming. Being able to subsidise co-farmers means that there are fewer barriers to their benefiting from what we do.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have years of experience doing what we do, as well as an unbeatable location and supportive hosts.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sarah Giles

    Sarah is Programme Director, and has been involved with FarmAbility for many years, first as a volunteer and then employee. She is endlessly wise

    Clare Farley

    Clare is a horticultural therapist, patiently working in the gardens to grow healthy food and enable our co-farmers to find and practice new skills

    Raul Ospina Bonilla

    Raul has worked on farms and with disabled people for most of his life: with us he shares his knowledge of working with animals and carpentry