Our Journey

This page is still being compiled so please forgive its short-comings (4/13)

School visits

2008. The William Cobbett school has established twice yearly visits that take place in Spring and Autumn with 20 of its special needs pupils coming in two groups of 10 each. In Spring we concentrate on new life, planting seeds and vegetables, collecting eggs, inspecting frog spawn, etc. and in the Autumn the focus is on harvesting, stores, gathering kindling for the fire, recycling to make compost to improve the soil for next year’s planting, etc. This autumn (2009) the children chose to do den-building and create “bug” hotels.

Regular visitors

2009. For the last 18 months we have had two weekly visitors. Both will continue to visit into the foreseeable future as they not just gain confidence and sense of self-worth but also now have learnt skills that will enable them to gain useful employment and participate in society. One now has left school and attends agricultural college. This is as a result of both his own hard work and what he learnt while attending CoS on an extended work placement. A great success as achieved our objective of introducing him to a way of life that he enjoys, a love of working with animals and knowledge that through dedication anything is achievable. See “Case Studies”. We are being introduced to another two youngsters from special needs schools that will initially come for two week placements. We hope they too will then attend on a weekly basis.

Referrals from and working with Merristwood College

2010. Links have been forged with several of the College’s departments and reciprocal arrangements are planned for the future. These will include our providing work experience placements in our commercial cattery for their students and our children being given access to visit the more exotic creatures that are cared for at the College. We are able to provide facilities for College students who do not thrive in a classroom environment and the College may provide a benefit to use by using our grounds for general training purposes.

Children from Chernobyl

2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012. One day visits for 10 children from Belarus each September organised by Woking Friends of Chernobyl Children, have been a huge success. However, 2012 was the last repeat visit for these youngsters, who now move on to secondary school in their home land. However, we hope there will be a new group coming in 2013.

2010 & 2011. We acted as a “host family” for two 11 yr-old boys who were brought to England by Chernobyl Children’s Life Line. We hope that we will be able to continue to be of assistance in future years.

2012. Regrettably due to Belarusian & Ukrainian bureaucracy, no children were able to be brought to England t stay with during 2012.

The Cabin

In 2009-10, for 18 months, we awaited for formal planning approval for the conversion and extension an old stable to create a meeting/rest room, kitchen bathroom with two wc’s and a shower. This was important to achieve for all who visit but particularly for anyone with limited mobility. The completed project with related infrastructural works, drains, water, electricity etc cost £24,000

The Barn

2013. Please see Future Plans. We still need to raise £3,000 to complete this project.  The barn is to house dry working space for such activities as building & repairing animal houses, painting equipment, spinnng & weaving; the hay & feed store; the tractor shed; and the ponies’ tack room. If you can help us to finish this last key building please click the Donate button at the top of the page. Thank you.

Work, Rest & Play Club

2010. It was hoped that this would be launched as soon as the Cabin was complete, hopefully in summer 2011. However, to date we have not attracted key personnel who have the time to commit to running it every Sunday. The initial intention was that lone parents with their children would come on Sundays to assist with projects around the outbuildings, grounds and with the animals (Work), lunch and chat together in the Shelter (Rest) and have fun kicking a ball around, playing quoits or board/card games, etc (Play). We still hope that our ideal may ultimaatley be fulfiilled and that there will be  interest and enthusiasm in running this both for themselves and their children in the knowledge that it will also be of assistance to the individual children who attend at other times. 2013If YOU are the person with the time, skills and commitment to poineer this please contact: Sue Weaver Tel: 01252 794960 or E-mail sue@changeofscene.org.uk

Bring & Buy Sales

2008 we launched this idea and made over £300. In 2009 we raised £540. Although it was quite a lot of work for a modest return it seemed worthwhile because it made our presence known to the local community. We therefore attended about four events each year for the first three years of our existence; Farnham Maltings, Bourne Show; Rowledge Village Fete; Gostrey Meadow, etc. On the conversion of the Cabin and with an ever increasing number of attendees, storage and spare time became difficult to find and now we just focus on sales of produce the children have made and a limited amount of new goods, sold at special events.

In 2012 these events included our Fashion Show fundraising evening; Kingsley Golf Club’s Jamie Oliver’s evening; Farnham Maltings Charity Fete and the Malting’s Christmas Fayre.  Please “Events” for forthcoming fundraising activities.

Residential

2008. An initial goal was to have accommodation for up to four youngsters to stay for a week or a fortnight and so become familiar with the day-long routines and care attached to the home, animals and land while having lots of fun in doing so. However, for logistical reasons, such as planning consents, considerable building requirements, employment of 24-hour staffing, etc we have decided that residential visits will be restricted to occasional camping in our fields with direct access to the Cabin’s facilities.

Business Plan

2008. Courtesy of a wonderful supporter, who is a business planning consultant, we created a most robust 5-year Business Plan for 2008 – 2013, which in addition to undergoing a most thorough Board scrutiny was also independently vetted by Surrey Business and Social Enterprise Adviser. The Key Performance Indicators will evolve and become more robust based on the increasing number of “outcomes”  recorded as we become better established. Initially performance was based on the number of days that children attended and how our Income and Expenditure projections mirror that growth.