Recently President Gary Blenkinsopp of Rotary Newton Aycliffe visited FIVE ACRES which is a day centre like no other for young adults based in the ROF59 building on Aycliffe Business Park. Their space within ROF59 is owned by John Finlay of Finlay Structures and they are forever grateful to John who gave them their first 3 months rent free. The purpose of Gary’s visit was to hand over a cheque from Rotary, to hear about their plans for the donation and learn more about the work they do. The centre is the brainchild of Debbie and Gavin Iceton with the idea being formed a few years ago after Debbie had a conversation with a friend. She realised that a day facility for young adults with learning difficulties did not exist locally. It is now well established and ably managed by Donna Martin with Charlotte Iceton as Assistant Manager.
The centre is open weekdays 9.15am until 3.15pm and caters for young people of age 17+ who, because of their complicated disabilities, may not be able to find employment yet channelling their energies and talent is essential for their well-being and that of their families and also gives them an outlet in their lives. The centre has a huge space for all sorts of noisy and physical activities and a beautiful sensory room for quiet and relaxing times. There is also a craft room equipped with the essentials for creating, learning and preparing young people with life skills. Many thanks to Sara Davies of Crafters' Companion who donated most of the craft stock when her Aycliffe store closed. The donation from Rotary will be used to buy iPads for the teaching of basic technology, something not necessarily offered in other learning facilities for young people with complicated needs. They are also taught gardening, animal care, basic cookery, and other skills to help prepare them for adult life.
Future plans include the development of a parcel of land in Brafferton owned by Debbie and Gavin (Five Acres) with planning permission underway to site woodland lodges. Huge thanks to Husqvarnawho have donated equipment for use on the land and to J&C Coaches who donated a coach to enable trips away. The area will used to provide accommodation for those young people whose parents/families are in need of some respite care and when operational will be fully staffed with qualified personnel in residence. Fencing is needed for the perimeter of the site primarily for the security of residents, so they are appealing to any companies who feel they want to raise their product profile by donating to this very ambitious, innovative and so worthwhile project. If you can assist in any way, please contact Donna at Five Acres on 07739 091769.
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