“It is the objective of Caring For Life that each individual that comes within the parameters of the Poultry Project will experience the love, dignity and acceptance that Jesus showed to individuals.”
Through involvement in providing quality care for our free range hens, resulting in poultry and eggs to be proud of, the Poultry Project gives opportunities for our beneficiaries to engage in activities that are not only therapeutic in themselves, and develop important skills, but also help to improve personal conduct, develop the ability to work in a team and generate a genuine sense of responsibility. Jonathan Parkinson Pastoral Director
Free-range hens have always been a part of Caring For Life’s daytime pastoral projects. Since the inception of the charity we have benefitted from both the pastoral value and the financial benefits of selling free-range eggs.
Long before legislative changes on keeping poultry, we chose to develop the free-range system of hen management, as we believe it is the most natural environment for the bird and the most beneficial in caring for the birds too.
The project has seen many changes over the years, with new government legislation affecting the way in which the hens have been housed and the way that the eggs have had to be stored and managed, but we have always seen fit to be ahead of the game in all these areas.
Just as important, if not more so, we have also always tried to engage the beneficiaries of the poultry project in all aspects of the work, whether it be maintaining the buildings, animal husbandry or the production and sale of the product, the eggs.
With our current project leader, Esther Troon, the project produces eggs that are sold at a peak of freshness in our Granary Farm Shop, served in meals in the Granary Restaurant, or used in our Bakery onsite.
We also use some of the eggs in our kitchens which provide meals for those beneficiaries who attend the farm projects, as we offer a free breakfast and lunch.
CFL distributes eggs through FREDAs, people who sell our eggs for us to local groups and churches. FREDA stands for Free Range Egg Delivery Agent! Our FREDAs are generally volunteers and supporters of Caring For Life, who have offered to help in this way, for which we are very grateful.
In addition, each week we deliver eggs to customers in the local area, to a small numbers of outlets and to a local highly supportive restaurant, Salvos in Headingley.
The poultry project has huge benefits for those who get involved. It caters for people with a range of needs, and enables people to gain a real sense of achievement as they see a result week on week for their efforts. It has enabled people who may have very few friends in the world to meet new people, to talk and to have fun in a safe and friendly place.
The project has developed over the years through the hard work of many staff members and volunteers, and has seen many men and women benefiting from being a part of it.
Over the years we have had supporters who have enabled us to develop the project massively. One such supporter is Gareth Hart and his wife Alice, from Suffolk. They have supplied us with hens at zero cost for a number of years now.
A group of supporters very kindly planted an apple orchard behind the henhouses, in the area where the poultry go out each day to graze. The hens have always had a natural grassed environment in which to peck, scratch and sunbathe, but now also have young trees under which they can shelter. In due course, the apples will also provide a harvest for us to produce our own pressed apple juice, thanks to the help and enthusiasm of this kind group of supporters.
Then Dunbia Meats, (see the Butchery Project), undertook a full refurbishment of our egg cleaning, grading and packing room, again keeping us ahead of statutory requirements.
These and many other gifts have enabled us to provide a high quality of care in a safe and loving environment.
As in the Agriculture Project, the aim of the Poultry Project is to enable people to experience the love of Jesus. Working in and around the poultry area enables the project participants to recognise and see the amazing hand of God at work in creation, the One who created the countryside and who sustains the seasons.