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In Touch With Rarebreeds Centre

In Touch With Rarebreeds Centre

Hayley—On the Farm

Spring has brought us lots of new arrivals on the farm….

Since the last edition of In Touch there has been lots happening on the farm; it’s a job to know where to begin….

Most recently our Life Skills students participated in the Heathfield Agricultural Show. They had a great time showing their sheep and came home with some rosettes… Thomas B won a 3rd place with a Wensleydale in the “Wool on Hoof” class and Emma won 2nd place with a Coloured Lincoln Longwool; she also won 5th place with a Herdwick. Congratulations to everyone involved in the preparation and showing!

We’ve had lots of bundles of new arrivals this spring. Lambing was successful with over 130 healthy new born lambs snuggled up in the lambing tunnel over the Easter holidays. Our new kids have been bounding around much to the amusement of the visitors, and we’ve had 5 English Longhorn calves born, with one still due.

Speaking of new arrivals, new staff members have joined our farm team recently, so we would like to extend a warm welcome to Jadie (Life-skills Tutor), Sam (Discovery Gardener), Jake (Farm Worker) and Milli (Meet the Animals). 


It is with great sadness that we are to say goodbye to a familiar face on the farm, John is leaving us at the end of June. John, who you may have seen doing a good impression of road runner and whose specialities includes sheep hairdressing, is off to pastures new and early starts at a local dairy farm.

We wish him well in his new job and I’m sure he will pop in from time to time. 

Jerry—Head of Property and Infrastructure

It’s all going on in Estates….

Beaver Lodge – Despite starting in January and having to work through all the cold and rain, the new extension has been completed and is now in use. The final part of the build, to convert the former lounge into a self-contained flat, has begun and we are looking to have this ready by 1st of June. When work is completed, Beaver will be able to become home for two more people.

Thanks to Hi Trade the mess hut extension is up, in use and giving everyone breathing space – but the work is not yet completed. Hi Trade has funded work to replace the old kitchen and fit a new larger one. The old storage heaters system, which at best has struggled, is due an update to proper central heating. It will take heat from the new college next door. If users remember to shut the door, it may even be warm in winter as Estates have also got plans to insulate the roof.

We are also replacing the balcony at Watchbell; the old one has been in place for centuries and was in need of repairs. It needed to be held up with scaffolding, while the Council’s conservation department and building control fought it out; one wanted it put back exactly as it had always been and the other wanted it to meet modern standards in all respects.

When that was eventually sorted we then needed to get hold of craftsmen who have the skills to work on old buildings. There are not many who can work to the standard required and a 6 month wait was needed to get who we wanted. It was worth the wait and Watchbell is now restored to its former glory.

The new top toilets opened at last, in time for the wettest Easter for a long time. The whole RBC site was waterlogged to the point where one play area had to be closed. Another play area, near the new toilets, had turned to mud, and I mean mud; it looked like Adam had taken his annual bath (he is very fussy really and he has been shown the draft – he went off muttering something about investing in people but I missed the detail!)

Anyway, the residue (from the playground, not Adam) seemed to work its way into every newly painted nook and cranny. Poor Helen fought a courageous but losing battle with a mop and a post-Easter rescue attempt is being made, 1.) to locate Helen and 2.) to make the building easier to clean. That said, what a great improvement the new toilets are!

We go into the summer with lots to do. One of the jobs is the Mariners’ roof. It has had a small leak for most of the winter and several attempts to seal it have not worked. We are taking the roof back and I’m sure we will find something we were not expecting. It is a lovely house and a great place to live but never ceases to throw up building challenges. I will let you know in time for the next In Touch.

In addition to all this the new general data protection regulations are coming into effect. If the Mariners is a building challenge then believe me, these new regulations are worse. We are working to ensure that the information we keep is fully compliant with this new set of rules. It is good as it protects us all but is proving very demanding. You will be receiving correspondence asking for your agreement to keep your name on a database, so In Touch and other publications and notices can come to you. When you get the request please respond if you agree. If we do not get your agreement we have to take you off the mailing or email list and will not be able to send you In Touch amongst other things.

This is where I really must retract any rude comments about Adam – he has been a Godsend in many areas of the business, but in particular with researching the technology that will allow COT to comply.