TR Support Oak Tree Farm Rural Project
Oak Tree Farm, a charity organisation set up to provide a rural working environment where people with learning disabilities gain the skills, independence and confidence to take them towards an active role in society have recently constructed a new Tea Room.
Tim Tooley, born with Down’s syndrome, is a shining example of determination and commitment to push the boundaries and achieve great things. Tim joined the Oak Tree Farm Rural Project when he moved to Staffordshire. This charity funded venture provides learning skills in woodwork, pottery and horticultural activities for adults with learning difficulties. As a charity, Oak Tree got the opportunity to present to Sainsbury’s Stafford to become their local charity of the year and Tim was part of the team to present to the charity committee. Having successfully won the hearts of the committee, the Oak Tree team now regularly works with Sainsbury’s and in addition to financial support with monies raised by staff and customers, they are providing ‘knowledge and technical and commercial support’ to the Oak Tree Tea Room which has now been built for visitors. This exciting project opened up a new world for everyone involved and if you visit the facilities in Hilderstone, Staffordshire you can feel the excitement of the venture and indeed the happiness that the project has brought to so many of the members and volunteers who tirelessly devote their time and skills to help these very special people.
Tim currently works part time at his local Sainsbury’s in their café thanks to the help and support of Mencap Pathways who along with Tim’s family saw his potential and commitment to new skills he had gained through attending Oak Tree. After initial meetings and discussions Tim Hyland the Manager at Stafford Sainsbury’s gave Tim the opportunity of work placement and so in October 2009 Tim entered the working world – “We were all very excited for him but no-one more so than Tim himself- it was a very proud time for us all. Following six months work experience, we were delighted when Tim was offered a part time job at Sainsbury’s and from the 1 April 2010 he joined the payroll of the Stafford store” said Fiona, Tim’s sister.
Tim then went on to win an award at Sainsbury’s, the Justin’s Pride Award, in the category of ‘Best New Talent’. Tim was chosen out of over 4000 colleagues. Through his role within Sainsbury’s Cafe, Tim’s skills developed and his confidence reflected in his manner and happy approach to customers – each day he arrived for work with a smile and left with a smile, leaving a little of him with everyone who met him in-store.
TR are very proud to support the Tea Room Appeal by partaking in the ‘One Brick at a Time’ scheme and their brick will be placed on the path to the Tea Room, displaying the company name and web address.