IOE’s Adult Service is always looking for opportunities for participants to be involved in their local community. It’s a great way to both make connections in the community while gaining valuable work or social experience.

A group from our Lilydale site has been visiting, working and getting to know locals at a number of farms in the area.

Every Thursday our group – Jordan, Jayden, Michael, Liam, Shawn and Grace – go to a farm. We try to avoid going to the same place twice in a row, so we have lots of different experiences. Our goal is to gain work experience and we’d consider it a real bonus if we were to secure any employment opportunities through the connections we are making.

One place where we have enjoyed working is owned by a lady named Laura, who came to us and offered her property for our farm group to go to. We dug up a whole veggie garden and planted new seedlings, as well as got to meet her very friendly sheep, goat and pig. Lara even baked some delicious banana bread for us all and provided it, still warm from the oven, with tea and coffee, as well as let us take home any fresh vegetables from the garden that we wanted. She has experience in the disability field and was just happy to give back to the community. We all had a wonderful day and her generosity did not go unnoticed! We will be going back to Laura’s farm in a couple of weeks to check on our seedlings and plant some more.

We also regularly visit Haydi’s Irish Donkey farm in Wandin, and a property in Launching Place we call ‘The Sheep Farm’. This is run by Mark and Andrea Wilkinson, and is home to 18 rescued sheep who come running over for their Weetbix when they see us, and two big horses who always manage to get treats out of us too!

I am busy trying to establish other places we can regularly visit and would love to hear from anyone who could assist us.

Kerrie Lee