There are seven different workshops at Larchfield which are open to day placements; these are the kitchen, bakery, cafe/shop, farm, gardens, estate and craft. Sue Birch is responsible for managing and overseeing the workshops, she has been in this post since 2013 and has thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the growth and development of the work areas.
Day placements are drawn from the Middlesbrough area and beyond. The number of day places has grown significantly since 2012 and now, in the Spring of 2017 we have just started working with our 60th day placement. Attendance can be anywhere from half a day per week right through to full days from Monday to Friday. Many people enjoy working in more than one of the workshops.
Taster sessions are offered in all the workshops to help the individual find the area that is best suited to their interests, skills and personality.
Following a Camphill Village Trust fundraising campaign 2014 – 2015 it became possible to expand and update work areas within the different communities. At Larchfield this funding was used to expand and develop the cafe, shop and kitchen areas as well as the craft workshop. The cafe area was redesigned in order to provide more seating for customers while the old butchery room behind the cafe was developed into a kitchen area allowing for more food preparation training opportunities. In the craft workshop an old woodwork workroom was redeveloped and now specialises in up-cycled furniture and driftwood and glass art. Many of the ideas for craft products are generated by the workshop attendees. The expansions and refurbishments have meant more residents and day placements can be accommodated in the workshops.
Exciting news is that a totally new workshop has been agreed and funding is now under way to have a 'Doggy Day Care' workshop. This will involve a purpose built building to house the daycentre within the grounds of Larchfield and will involve residents and day placements learning all about the different aspects of caring for, and looking after a dog. This will cross the spectrum of grooming and feeding, walking and playing. We hope to have this up and running at some point in 2018.
While the majority of day placements come from the Middlesbrough area we also have people who come from Darlington, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland and North Yorkshire. There are several referral routes – through social care professionals, health professionals and self-referral. While some of the workshops are already at full capacity and others nearly full we do operate a waiting list. Within all of our workshops we support and work alongside people of different ages, abilities and experiences.
The growth of the day placement service has not only proved to be popular and successful it has also resulted in the forging of new friendships - with other day placements and with those who live at Larchfield. Shared social activities on and off site are regularly enjoyed. Since the day placement scheme was launched we have had quite a few of the day placements who have liked Larchfield so much that they have since moved into the community as residents. Two have moved in already this year and another is expected soon.