Last week, I greatly enjoyed visiting Wellies 2 Work, based at Pear Tree Farm a 33-acre organic working farm between Billingshurst and Barns Green.
Wellies 2 Work is a scheme aimed at giving young adults aged 16-25 with learning disabilities the opportunity to get practical work experience. Young people on the scheme get to experience all elements of business on the farm from customer service to working with produce and animals.
Wellies 2 Work also works alongside employers, promoting the benefits of employing people with learning disabilities which can have huge benefits for employers, customers and the wider workforce.
As well as providing Wellies 2 Work the farm is certified biodynamic and organic- producing its own fruit and vegetables. It is also home to a nursery school, where children aged between 2-5 years old take part in outdoor activities and learn about the countryside.
On my visit the toddlers were happily (and safely) playing in the stream – little did they know of the forthcoming flooding around Sussex. It has been a deeply troubling period for many. As I write the waters are receding but there is of course an ongoing threat and more rain is threatened.
At the other end of the generations it was lovely to meet, among others engagements, Nellie Little this week who has just celebrated her 100th Birthday. Nellie has lived in Horsham almost all her life and it was a joy to talk to her.
This has also been my first week in a new post - serving as Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence. I am very grateful for messages of support I have received in writing and in person in Horsham this week. I have responsibility for Defence Procurement - helping to buy, on behalf of the UK, everything from warships, tanks to fighters and (in this day and age) cyber capability, to keep us and our friends and interests safe. It will be a challenging but I am sure rewarding portfolio and I feel very privileged to be asked to undertake a role which enables me to work with our amazing armed forces, who are rightly respected around the world.
Photo Credit: This week Jeremy Quin met the team at Pear Tree Farm, near Billingshurst to hear about the Nursery, organic veg business and “Wellies2Work”.