Joined-Up Holidays submits application to Durham County Council

A CHARITY helping people with special needs hopes to change the use of its headquarters from a farm smallholding to respite day care centre.

The owners of Paradise Farm, in Woodland, have applied to Durham County Council’s planning department for a change of use from smallholding to a respite centre for people with special needs and disabilities.

Registered charity Joined-Up Holidays is based at the farm, offering respite care and specially adapted facilities for people with special needs who may have difficulties accessing such places elsewhere.

The charity helps to engage visitors in agricultural, horticultural and countryside-themed activities.

Clients come from referrals via NHS agencies, social services departments, fostering agencies, youth justice agencies, supported housing providers, individual care budget holders and specialist schools across the region.

A planning application on behalf of the charity submitted to the county council states: “There are many groups who find it difficult to access holidays, short breaks or day visits which do more for them than simply offer a change of scene.

“Children and young people with disabilities need stimulation as well as care, older people with disabilities wish to broaden their horizons and people with mental health problems need safe space where they can engage with nature in peace.

“Over the next few years, we intend to develop the charity to offer fully supervised respite breaks and residential facilities for holidays.

“This will include specially adapted caravans and self-catering lodges, bed and breakfast breaks in our current barn conversion as funding and planning permission allows.

“In order to maintain the spirit and ethos of the enterprise, numbers will remain small and we will continue to work with visitors and carers in ways which suit their needs.”

In the near future, the charity also hopes to create a community orchard, comprising about 40 apple, pear and plum trees, on a small area of land behind Paradise Cottages.

The centre is currently open twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with activities tailored to suit the individual needs of guests.

For information about the charity and its facilities visit joinedupholidays.co.uk.

The change of use application will be determined by Durham County Council in the near future.

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