A FARM that helps young people with autism to learn animal care and gardening skills has been given a £5,000 grant writes Levana Hayes.

Pennyhooks Farm Trust has been lending a hand to the community in the 20 years since it was founded by Lydia Otter who was a special needs teacher in Swindon.

Lydia said: “I was born on the farm and I became a teacher for young people with autism. One of my students was struggling in class and so I brought him to the farm to see if it would benefit him.

“Swindon had little to offer at that time and so I started a service for the community.”

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And now the farm at Shrivenham has been gifted £5,000 from Cable Services.

This will help the 18 staff teach the young people farming, gardening and home skills.

Lydia, who lives at the farm near Shrivenham Park Golf Club, said: “We’re so thrilled because we work so hard to fundraise what we do.

“We get a lot of physical things like the three new goats we got two days ago which is lovely, but the money goes a long way.”

Mike Coombs, the area sales manager for Cable Services in Swindon went to Pennyhooks to hand deliver the cheque.

He told the Swindon Advertiser: “Cable services set up a charity to share out £45,000 across the country. I came down one day to see what they do and I just fell in love with the place, I just thought it was amazing.

“It was a no-brainer really to give them the money. They don’t get the funding to look after these autistic young people and so we thought we could really make a difference.”