Cow Pat started in 2004 as a response to existing adult students with learning disabilities interested in working with the farm’s animals. Training takes place every Monday in the main yard, fields, duck pond and indoor classroom. Students learn skills in animal husbandry, including feeding, animal care, grooming, incubation, birthing, mucking out and milking.
Students attend one or more of the projects for one or two days a week from 10am to 3pm. The projects run for 40 weeks a year, Monday to Thursday. We aim to provide training for people with a wide range of support needs. Trainees choose their own course of learning from the options available, and review progress regularly with their trainer. A maximum of four people attend each project each day. There is an initial 4-week trial period for a student to decide if they would like a place and for the trainer to decide if a place can be offered. People usually attend for a period of about 3 years, although the actual length of time is agreed with each person and can be reviewed. Places are funded by service level agreements and individual contracts authorised by Social Services.
For each project there is one full time trainer. In addition volunteers are recruited specifically to support people attending the projects.