Stephen Chamberlain, Head of Philanthropy, reports back from Little Gate Farm in Beckley, near Rye.
“Last month, I attended an event for Little Gate Farm to celebrate their fifth birthday. Little Gate Farm is a very special project, which supports adults with learning disabilities and autism into paid employment. Sussex Community Foundation has been privileged to support them since the very beginning, most recently in March with a grant from the Laing Fund towards their Healthy Kitchen project. This will help train 60 young adults with learning disabilities in new skills to help them cook healthy meals independently. This vulnerable group of people will be empowered to live more independent and healthier lives. The aspiration is that many can progress into catering jobs with skills learned on this project.
Steven, one of the young adults supported by Little Gate Farm, spoke movingly at the event. Not so long ago, someone like Steven might have been excluded from world of work and even now only 6% of adults with learning disabilities are in paid employment in the UK. But, with the help from his Little Gate Farm Job Coach, Steven is completing a Health and Social Care apprenticeship and has moved straight into a paid role at Ashridge Court Care Centre in Bexhill. This is meaningful employment. It provides a framework to his life, an income, stability, a sense of purpose and social contact – and it’s clear that he is valued by his colleagues and very good at his job, too. We look forward very much to other Little Gate Farm success stories over the next five years.”