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I was extremely touched to see how the students are just settled to a range of jobs; baking, making cards, potting on plants and completing woodwork bee boxes, all this is happening at the same time which was wonderful to see. It is a huge step towards the potential for purposeful adult lives, which I have hoped for so long might be possible here; and to which now will be added the production and sale of eggs!

We are already finding an outlet for our products, because other groups are asking to come to just have a ‘farm’ experience, for example, residents from special care homes. I am very pleased that this will mean an opportunity for our students to be involved in providing and caring for them, by making cakes (using our eggs of course!) and other products to sell to them, as well as keeping the building and garden nice for the visitors. I have explained to our students that Otter House is a place where we go to make things ‘to sell or to share’ which seems to have been instantly taken on board by them. To have a building dedicated to this gives them such clear focus I think.

We press on too with our hopes to provide accommodation here in the future, and to protect the farm environment in perpetuity if at all possible. We are still working on our Business Plan to try to encapsulate our hopes for the student’s futures. In fact I just wonder if any of your members have business experience, that they might feel able to share with me at this important time, while I try to find the right way forward? It has been suggested that I would benefit from the input of someone who could help me to manage the business as it develops, if they happened have an appropriate background and any time to spare; we would look to cover all costs for them.

I do hope you don’t mind me asking your thoughts on this; I so welcomed your interest in us when you visited and realised that you understood us, which was so kind and much appreciated. As you know running a business is something I have been learning as much about as I can about, in addition to being a teacher. It is just that sometimes I feel ‘ afloat’ on a big sea trying to navigate without anyone to tell me the direction we must go in order to safeguard our students lives, and I much value support from others with more experience than me. Also because I have so many other responsibilities, having someone knowledgeable and prepared to share the load could be a great help to me.

We also still welcome volunteers to help with practical things like gardening, painting, sweeping and tidying up around the farm and buildings to be ready for the Opening Day. We are also currently even pulling ragwort that has blown in as seed over the A420 , from our 15 acre field waiting to be cut for silage.

Once again, please pass on my warmest thanks to your members. Lydia

you up for this challenge? - If so, give Lydia a call. The paragraphs highlighted in yellow are for the attention of Rotarians. Are any of

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