Target group: Mentally and physically disabled individuals and addicts

Type of care: Day care

Farm: 25 ha farm and cattle, hens and sheep

Income sources: 70% of income from agricultural activity, bakery, shop, restaurant and 30%  from Care activity

Thedinghsweert farm was created in 1991. It is run by a foundation which focuses on the social integration of the mentally and physically disabled as well as addicts. The Care Farm specializes in four business areas: agricultural production, a bakery, an organic food  shop, and a restaurant. The participants work in every area under the supervision of the foundation’s full-time workers. Here everybody is referred to as  a co-worker.

The main assumption of the foundation is to connect people with a variety of disabilities, the addicts with the non addicts so they can  they can learn how to cope and be provide with support. This relationship can be seen in operation at the railway station run by the foundation in Tiel. Customers are served here by people working in pairs – one disabled and one healthy It is not necessarily true that the healthy are always a support for the disabled. There is in fact a kind of symbiosis which is described with enthusiasm by Anne and Daan: “When I can see that Daan is tired I tell him to take a break and when he can see I am stressed he calms me down and says that this is not the end of the world and it really helps because there are much more serious problems in the world than my mistaken orders”.

The Care activity in Thedinghsweert is run from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.. The participants help out on the farm. There are about 70, aged between 16 to 70. They are not all there at the same time because there are only enough places for 30 – 35 people at any one time with an additional 10 – 12 in the restaurant.

Each person does whatever work they like. Many of the men want to work on the farm, with the cows, the hens or out in the fields. There are also those who are qualified to operate  the machinery. Thedinghsweert is focused on organic production, growing vegetables and crops, breeding cattle (34 cows), hens (160) and sheep (10). Some of the participants choose to work in the bakery where they bake cakes and cookies as well as bread and rolls. All the items  produced by the people working on the farm and the bakery and can be found for sale in the organic food shop as well as the restaurant.

Regardless of the type of work the participants do at Thedinghsweert they are encouraged to do as many things as they can without any assistance, When they have learned how to do  their job and are ready to do so they can then look for work outside the farm.

“We want our participants to do as many things as they can without anybody’s help”

“I like this place because when somebody disturbs me I can go somewhere else ” (Alfred)

“I have a driving licence for a tractor and this is the thing I like to do most” (Ari)

“I like to cook therefore I chose to work in the bakery. I bake wholemeal bread, spelt bread and Italian bread with tomatoes and olives” (Dunia)

“We want to create a community of people working and living together, but for now it is a community of the working individuals only”

“We focus on what our participants can do, and  not on what they cannot do”

“We work in harmony with nature here, we respect to the earth and our fellow man”