News & Events

Phil discovers his passion for farming

Posted on 21st December 2022

Walk for Autism has provided the funds to enable many life changing projects to take place supporting both groups and individuals. Here's Phil's story ...

Phil recently became a volunteer at Tam O’Shanters Urban Farm in Wirral. With the full support of the Autism Initiatives team, Phil’s quality of life completely transformed as the team worked alongside him to realise potential and take up a new hobby that he is now passionate about.

Before Phil started volunteering at the farm, the staff team at the Wirral-based service were becoming increasingly concerned about his wellbeing and mental health. He struggled to carry out daily tasks like personal care, and wanted to stay in bed all day. He required a great deal of reassurance around his worries and anxieties, and relied heavily on his Dad to support him with personal care such as showering.

This was when the staff team at the service discovered Phil’s love for animals. After several visits to the local farm, they saw how much he enjoyed spending time there. With the assistance of Service Manager Jean and the team, Phil was able to secure a volunteer placement one day a week at Tam O’Shanters Urban Farm in Bidston.

Once Phil had settled in and was happy and engaged in the volunteer role, the team at Autism Initiatives used money fundraised through the annual Walk for Autism fundraising challenge to ensure that the staff team working alongside Phil were kitted out correctly and were safe throughout their time at the farm. This included waterproof clothing and boots.

Support Worker Ryan said: “Phil really enjoys the farm and sounds very proud when telling people of his position. Since starting his weekly volunteer placement, Phil has shown great improvement within himself. I’ve really enjoyed going there with him too, which is something I never imagined I’d be doing as part of my role!”

Service Manager Jean added: “Phil’s humour has returned and he will often joke with staff around the house and rarely shows signs of worry or anxiety.

His home life has also improved and is once again independently attending his personal hygiene. He now also visits the shops with staff daily to get his personal provisions and supper for the evening which prior to volunteering wasn’t possible.

He takes care of the home by washing dishes, and he is generally more upbeat mood throughout the days. He has learned how to cook main meals for both himself and fellow resident.

Finding his passion through volunteering has given Phil a much better quality of life and he has something to look forward to.”

Phil’s fantastic progress at the farm has led to him being offered a second day, which he will pick up in the near future. On top of this, the farm has offered Phil the opportunity to get his Level 1 Certificate in Practical Horticulture Skills, which he has agreed to do and is awaiting a start date. This qualification will also be funded by Autism Initiatives.

Autism Initiatives Community Fundraiser Edna Green said: “Money was raised for this amazing project through Walk for Autism. Phil is just one of the amazing individuals who have benefitted from these life changing projects across the UK and Ireland. This is why we all step up to the challenge every year!”