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Animal-loving respite centre planned

Animal-loving respite centre planned

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Animal-loving respite centre planned


A local care provider is planning to transform an old farmhouse into a new respite centre for islanders with special needs or learning disabilities - complete with pet therapy and a vegan café.

Tutela Jersey, which provides support services for people with autism and other complex needs, has put in a planning application to create “a new kind of respite centre” named 'Chestnut Farm'.

The aim of 'respite care' is to allow primary caregivers - usually family members - short-term relief from their obligations, and the opportunity to relax.

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Pictured: Gardening is just one of the activities that will be on offer at the centre.

According to Tutela, 'Chestnut Farm' would not only serve as a location for a "well-deserved break", but also promises pet therapy, group activities, a snack spot, and even a farm shop.

Converting the farmhouse in Ouaisné will allow visitors to indulge themselves in overnight stays, homecooked meals and a range of different activities including horse riding, yoga and gardening, the care provider says.

The centre will also boast a variety of animals that visitors can interact with from donkeys, pigs and sheep to Shetland ponies. On their website, Tutela states: “We love animals, and we also believe that pet therapy is an effective way to promote wellbeing.”  

In the Planning Statement for the project, Tutela’s Caroline Parsons says that “over the years, pet therapy has been proven to be very effective and can really change socialisation, behaviours and give a hugely positive outcome with individuals with disabilities." 

She goes onto explain that the plans were motivated “due to another provider being unable to provide respite services… and families being unable to have a well-deserved break due to the lack of providers.” 

Therefore, she continues: “Tutela would like to offer our clients a chance to experience the original farm experience.” 

As part of this vision, the plans hope to deliver a centre which offers lots of different in- and outdoor activities. Their website describes a focus on “the family experience” where visitors can all enjoy a homecooked meal “around the farmhouse table.”

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Pictured: The centre promises the "family experience". (Facebook/Tutela's Chestnut Farm Respite Centre)

Further to this, the website describes the range of activities on offer: “There will be a vegan/veggie café with a farm shop selling organic produce (grown without chemicals or pesticides) which will enable our visitors to be involved in serving, packaging vegetables and dealing with the general public, fully supported by Tutela Staff. Individuals will also get the opportunity to take home vegetables from their own veggie patch!

“Outdoors, we have expansive grounds for a range of outdoor activities, including outdoor Yoga, Zumba, horse riding (including for disabled visitors), picnics, taking care of our vegetable garden allotments and of course, meeting and helping to look after all of our wonderful farm animals.”

Subject to changing the use of the site being approved, the respite centre will be set up in an existing, listed building in Ouaisné and, in the statement, Ms Parsons explains that its services will only be open to Tutela and Government of Jersey service users “to increase their independent living and socialisation skills."

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