Aldingbourne Country Centres Open Farm

Donkeys at the Open Farm at Aldingbourne

“The Aldingbourne Trust is a local charity that supports people with learning disabilities and/or autism to have the same opportunities as everyone else to live independent lives.  At the Aldingbourne Country Centre one of our key enterprises is the Open Farm. The people we support are a much valued part of our team. They play a key role In keeping our animals happy and healthy as well as helping us to maintain high welfare standards.  

A guinea pig at Aldingbourne Open Farm

From the moment they arrive in the morning they are ready to get stuck in. No job to small or to big and definitely no job to dirty! 

Our daily essentials consist of feeding all the animals, poo picking the fields, cleaning the bird houses, and cleaning the guinea pig huts. As well as this we also like to carry out regular health checks on each animals to ensure they are healthy as they can be. Many of the people we support enjoy doing this, they take great pride in knowing our animals are healthy because they have contributed to looking after them so well. A few even help us to administer medication when needed.  

Another part of their job includes the public. We run guinea pig handling sessions and alpaca feeding on a daily basis. The people we support love to teach the children about our animals and how they care for them. The farm isn’t just about cleaning up after our animals, they all enjoy human company. We often take the ponies down to the woods and the people we support take it in turns to lead them independently.  

Our farm members are passionate about all our animals and a few have formed a bond with them over time. Many of the people we support are also interested in the behaviour and training of our animals for example: 

James, who works on the farm on a Friday, has bonded with the ponies. Particularly Rupert. He adores James giving him a tail scratch and will occasionally let him sit down next to him while he is having a snooze. 

Josh , who works on the farm on a Friday, has bonded with our 3 muscovy ducks. When they first arrived they were frightened of people. Josh spent lots of time working with them to gain their trust. They will now eat out of his hand!  

Vicky, who works on the farm on a Tuesday and Friday, is helping us to train the donkeys. Tom and Jerry the donkeys are a bit cheeky and don’t like to walk on a lead. Vicky is helping us to teach them how behave in a positive way.  

Whilst the Aldingbourne Country Centre is currently closed, our animals are still a top priority! We are caring for them daily and spending extra time with them until they can see you all again.  

For more information about the Aldingbourne Trust or our Open Farm please visit