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#25stories – from farm trainee to supported employment

Last month, Terry enjoyed his 60th birthday, although this was no ordinary celebration as he also celebrated an impressive 37 years at Elm Tree Farm.

Starting in 1982, Elm Tree Farm enabled people with a learning disability or autism - known then, as people with a mental handicap - to be trained in a range of farming activities.

The benefits included; exercise, being outdoors and connected to nature, having a purpose and sense of responsibility towards the running of the Farm – much like today!

When Brandon took over the project in 2000, it had a small group of unpaid trainees, including Terry. Now, with around 80 trainees, the Farm has the added purpose of training and preparing people for paid employment.

Terry is now an experienced and reliable member of staff. He works at Grounds and Gardens – our grounds maintenance and gardening service, and he also works with the market garden team. He’s fully active in both enterprises, and enjoys a wide range of tasks including sowing, planting, mowing, and digging. Over the years, Terry has accumulated a wealth of knowledge on practical processes, as well as seasonality and the sowing calendar.

Terry is now more confident talking to the people he works with, as well as strangers. Since 1998, Elm Tree Farm has had a stall at the weekly St Nicholas Farmers Market in Bristol. Through his work with the Farm team, Terry has become well-known; an expert salesman. He loves to chat with customers and talk about the produce.

A moment in history

Terry is part of the Farm’s history and he had the honour of seeing his story included in a display at Glenside Hospital Museum.

The Museum showcases the history of the expanding hospital complex that surrounded Stoke Park in the early 1900s. The hospital was comprised of long-stay residencies.

For his 60th birthday, Terry and his friends and colleagues, went to see the exhibition. It was the perfect opportunity to share his memories.

Read more about Terry’s life and his visit to the Museum on the Elm Tree Farm website.

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Whether you want to volunteer or donate, you can find out more about Brandon’s enterprises and how you can get involved on our website.

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