New Day Opportunities Social Farming


Service users from the learning Disability Day Support Programme have been taking part in a Social Farming Pilot Programme supported by Rural Support and funded by Public Health Agency (PHA). Social Farming is an innovative use of agriculture to promote therapy, social inclusion, education and day opportunity services in rural areas. Within Social Farming, the farm is not a specialised treatment farm; rather the farm remains a working farm where service users can benefit from participation in the farm’s activities in a natural environment.


The Social Farm Project has enabled 3 BHSCT service users to work on a family farm which includes a busy Equestrian Centre, a small sheep and beef farm enterprise with chickens, pigs, and goats etc., on site. The Project provided an opportunity for service users to participate in farm activities of their choice and sample working within the equestrian area, feeding and grooming animals, clearing stables and pens etc.

Overall this has been an excellent opportunity and a very successful placement to date for service users. Feedback has been extremely positive with service users and the farm staff very enthusiastic about the Project. Robert the farm owner commented, “I have found it very personally rewarding. It works well with the rest of the business”. Robert has also noticed changes in the service users since the first session commenting, “They have changed so much, they are so much more confident showing the skills they have learned”.

This Project reflects the commitment of the service users, their parents & carers, staff and all the organisations involved working in partnership to develop bespoke individualized day opportunities for people with learning disabilities.

If you would like any further information on Social Farming opportunities, please phone Aoibeann Walsh, Social Farming Service Coordinator with Rural Support on 07736158983 or 028 86760040 or email