Starting today, FarmAbility is bidding to get a cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

This initiative sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores – being awarded to local community projects such as ours.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers can head over to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

FarmAbility have been shortlisted in the Oxford area for funding for a great project. Our project will provide training in bushcraft and outdoor First Aid for the FarmAbility team, resources for outdoor activities, and funding to build a composting toilet in the woodland.

Why we want to do this

After they leave school, many people with autism and learning disabilities (ALD) are not given the opportunities they need to enjoy active, engaged and meaningful lives. Too many people with ALD spend much of their time in indoor, sedentary activities, often in social isolation from their communities. They need opportunities to get outdoors, take part in hands-on, practical tasks, and feel connected both to others and to nature.

Nature and outdoor environments, such as farms, nature reserves and woodland, offer fantastic potential in the form of purposeful activities, practical skills, and team work, as well as the chance to gain a greater enjoyment and appreciation of the natural world, with all the positive benefit to health and well-being this brings.

FarmAbility runs an outdoor day service for co-farmers (people with ALD, including school students), based on and hosted by a working farm in Wytham. On the farm there is a woodland space used in the past for primary school visits that we want to reinvigorate for use by our co-farmers and other visiting groups. We want to offer FUN and challenging bushcraft and nature sessions, enabling people with ALD to build their confidence in the outdoor environment, learn practical skills (woodwork, outdoor cooking, nature recognition, shelter building, foraging), and ultimately benefit from the positive impact on physical health and well-being from feeling stronger and fitter, improved sleep, reduced anxiety, increased self-esteem, and a stronger belief in their own capacities.

The project will provide a fantastic outdoor resource for our co-farmers (over 40 people) as well as for visiting groups supported by other disability organisations we work with.

How to vote for us

Voting is open in some Oxford Tesco stores throughout September and October. Customers can cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop. Use this link to see a map to find your closest store, and don’t forget that you can vote for us more than once.

Voting is open until 31st October 2017. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to help!