Apple Tree Farm Services CIC
A Family Owned Farm
Brenda and Phil have been together for 10 years and in 2015 welcomed into the world their baby daughter Emilia. Rather unexpectedly, in early 2016 and at only a few months old Emilia was diagnosed with right-sided hemiplegic cerebral palsy because of a perinatal stroke. This means she has reduced function on her right side. Having always lived in the London suburbs we were always able to access excellent therapies to assist Emilia in her progress and it was our experience with hippotherapy on a sunny day at Richmond Park that ignited a light bulb moment.
Emilia has always been fonder of animals than humans and as she grew so did her social anxiety. In 2017 we sold our house (and most of our belongings) and moved to Devon where the search for the perfect setting began. When we first entered through the gates of Apple Tree Farm we both felt an instant “this is it” knot in our stomach. We could see the alpacas and sheep as we drove in, the land was relatively flat and accessible and there was all the space, lots and lots of space!
Fast forward to where we are now, living here and providing our daughter with all the tranquillity she needs to relax and all the animals she could wish for to accomplish her therapeutic goals. And it is this tranquillity and opportunities for accomplishment that we would like to share with other families in our situation.
As therapy has been a way of life for us for a few years Brenda decided to pursue her dream to use animals for therapy sessions and retrained as an animal-assisted therapist using the farm animals for interventions and activities.
It is our mission to be able to give as many children and young adults with disabilities as possible the opportunity to achieve and succeed.
Since the start of this venture in North Devon, Brenda and Phil have grown their business from strength to strength. In just over 18 months they have grown to support over 30 children a week with special educational needs and disabilities, working alongside a number of local organisations such as schools, Devon County Council and the National Health System.
In January 2020 Apple Tree Farm was incorporated as a Community Interest Company.