ROTARY ROUND-UP: Behind the scenes at Ferring Country Centre

West Worthing Rotary Club members on tour of the Ferring Country Centre
West Worthing Rotary Club members on tour of the Ferring Country Centre

This week, David Chapman, from the Rotary Club of West Worthing, gives an update on the latest and future goings-on.

West Worthing Rotary Club members had the opportunity to visit and discover the magic the Ferring Country Centre.

Situated in the small village of Ferring, it is set amongst beautiful countryside and offers a unique experience to can meet the horses and other farm animals and pets, to walk nature the trails, visit the garden centre, picnic in the grounds or take advantage of the refreshments in the café.

Ferring Country Centre is an independent charity which provides training and work experience for people with learning difficulties.

Its customers develop work and social skills by assisting with all the projects within the centre.

They are also able to participate in a number of community projects, including newspaper collection and gardening services.

It is hoped that the work ethos applied at the centre will enable its clients to move on to work in the community.

There is a riding therapy unit providing lessons for more than 600 adults and children with learning and physical disabilities.

It is a unique establishment for riding and is well known and respected; the only centre of its kind in the area.

Riders come from the community, special schools and other day centres to enjoy the riding facilities.

Riding therapy is known to improve confidence, co-ordination, self-esteem and fitness; as well as being fun for those participating.

The centre was established in 1986 by a small group of parents who saw the need for an active workplace setting for children and adults with disabilities.

They are strongly committed to vulnerable adults enjoying social inclusion within the community and enabling them to play a valued role in society.

On our tour of the centre we were able to see the garden centre with its comprehensive range of top quality plants and vegetables, all grown on site and all for sale to the general public at very competitive prices.

The café offers a great range of snacks, cakes and beverages.

Volunteers with learning difficulties work in the shop and café and gain valuable retail and catering work experience.

Our group found the range of animals the most enjoyable.

Adults and children are enchanted and stimulated by the proximity of the animals and it is particularly beneficial for those with learning difficulties who work with the animals.

There are cows, pigs, sheep, goats, llamas, a charming range of small animals including guinea pigs, gerbils, rabbits, mice, turtles, tortoises, and many colourful and fascinating birds and parrots.

West Worthing president Jeremy Flaskett said: “What a treasure this centre is. It is a tranquil and calming contrast to our hectic pace of life, and is particularly educational and enchanting for children. We are pleased to be associated with the Centre.”

Rotary has close links with the centre. It has been the main recipient of funds raised by the Three Forts Challenge, an annual 27-mile marathon race organised by the local Rotary clubs.

More than £40,000 has been donated to centre over the last five years.

Next year’s race event will be on Sunday, May 6, and if you would like to take part, entries opened on September 1.

You can visit the website – www.threefortschallenge.org.uk – for more information.

To find out more about the Ferring Country Centre, including its Adopt a Farm Animal or Adopt a Horse schemes, visit www.ferringcountrycentre.org

Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:

• Worthing Rotary Club meets Monday, 12.55pm, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in The Steyne, Worthing, 01903 209564.

• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 501961.

• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 07788 638757.

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