Our story - why we do what we do
Canterbury Oast Trust serves people with a learning disability in achieving their aspirations for how they wish to live, learn and work.
Our charity empowers people through our accommodation, personal development and work experience programmes. We work closely with individuals, their families, professionals, our volunteers and supporters to ensure people have choice and control over their lives and enjoy their right to active and meaningful participation in society.
We provide care and support services for 83 people in community locations across Kent and East Sussex. We recognise that everyone is different and at the heart of our care is a person centred approach. We aspire to an holistic approach. That people’s mental, emotional and physical health is respected across all of our services.
Our broad base of inspiring training programmes offer placements for over 150 people with a learning disability. Our largest programme is our farm visitor attraction, the Rare Breeds Centre. Our farm is open to the public and welcomes over 130,000 visitors annually helping to raise funds for our work. Our students develop and maintain skills by being involved in all aspects of our farm, including caring for our animals, growing plants in our Plants & Produce nursery, catering within our Granary Restaurant and helping to host our farm visitors.
Our other training programmes include a vibrant arts and crafts gallery, Art at the Farm, IT, numeracy and literacy courses within our MY Life Skills Academy and woodland crafts and conservation at our nature reserve Poulton Wood. All of our projects have a tremendous sense of community and teamwork, encouraging people to develop and maintain skills, to socialise and to grow in confidence and self-esteem.
Through our work we aim to ensure that a learning disability is not a barrier to living well but social discrimination can limit opportunities available to you if you have a learning disability. People can face inequalities of choice in how and where they live, in accessing appropriate learning and education, in employment prospects and in community and healthcare provision. This can lead to people feeling isolated, suffering loneliness, having low self-esteem, managing on low incomes and dealing with long-term physical and mental health issues.
We work hard to support our charity's work through our farm and commercial activities. But we still rely on donations to help us provide the diversity and quality of services that we know help to nurture people's talents and support some of society's most marginalised people in achieving their life goals.