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Centre for disadvantaged approved

PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 09:47 01 August 2010

PLANS for a 'care farm' in south Norfolk which will offer therapeutic, training and work experience opportunities for adults and children facing difficulties have been approved.

PLANS for a 'care farm' in south Norfolk which will offer therapeutic, training and work experience opportunities for adults and children facing difficulties have been approved.

Clinks Care Farm in Toft Monks recently won funding to get it off the ground after receiving £3,500 from The May Gurney Foundation to pay for safety equipment and insurance.

The first of its kind in the area, the care farm adopts a concept popular in the Netherlands, and will provide a place for disadvantaged and unemployed people to gain hands-on experience of working on a farm.

Those set to benefit include young people at risk of exclusion from education, and people with learning difficulties, autism, mental health problems and dementia.

It aims to get people into work, access further education or move on to other volunteer placements while boosting confidence, self-belief and improving physical and mental wellbeing.

The farm will be managed as a social enterprise by Doeke Dobma, 47, and his wife Iris, 48.

They were inspired by the care farm network in their native country of Holland, which is used by more than 10,000 people each week and fully supported by the Dutch government.

A formal planning application for change of use of the farm was lodged with South Norfolk Council and planning permission was also sought for a support building which would house cloakroom facilities, a mess/workshop room and an office.

The application was approved with conditions at a meeting of the council's south and east area planning committee.

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