Work Starts at The Fold

WORK on a charity’s new £500,000 expansion to help Army families is expected to be completed by the spring.

The first ground was cut on three new timber buildings, at the Clow Beck Centre west of Croft-on-Tees, near Darlington, last week. The extension to the charity’s eco-farm, which will be known as The Fold, will provide a haven for army families and will help parents and children facing issues of loss, injury and loneliness.

Clow Beck is run by the Clervaux Trust, part of the Ruskin Mill Trust.

The ground cutting ceremony was performed by Colonel Barney Haugh of the Army Benevolent Fund, which has donated £20,000 towards the internal fittings of the centre. The main building is being funded by the HM Treasury’s LIBOR fund, which was set up to help service and emergency staff and their families.

The Fold aims to give relief from some of the stresses of garrison life by giving families the chance to work with farm animals, including chickens, goats and donkeys, and engage in different traditional crafts. Sensory and vegetable gardens are also planned for the site.

Project lead Lone Helliwell said, “It has been a long time in coming but it will be worth the wait. “We hope to open in spring next year, winter weather permitting. “We are very grateful for all the help we have been given and to Col. Haugh for making the effort to visit us today.”

A neighbouring building will provide a base for special needs clients to take part in the charity’s workshops.And a new barn will house the farm’s small flock of animals.

Clervaux Trust has been helping veterans in Catterick Garrison for some time, as well as its existing service users in Croft and Darlington, which include young people with complex behavioural, social or learning difficulties. The Fold will allow it to expand its current work with soldiers, as well as support service families while their loved ones are away.

Clervaux offers daytime sessions in different crafts, including green woodwork, textiles, pottery, weaving and gardening. The farm is also a smallholding, with a variety of different animals on-site including pigs, sheep, donkeys and chickens.

The theory is that crafts can help soldiers who have returned from conflict zones.

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