SHEFFIELD: Whirlow Hall Farm's big expansion for its 40th anniversary
Whirlow Hall Farm Trust is set for a big expansion after plans were approved for a brand new educational building and an extension to their cafe and shop.
The charity has been providing young people with life-changing experiences since 1979 and as a 40th anniversary pledge to themselves, the team decided to make plans so they could help even more children.
Ben Davies, chief executive of Whirlow Hall, said the work will see a new educational building that will bring their number of classrooms up from three to six as well as expand the cafe and shop by nearly double its current size.
He said: "On our 40th anniversary year we decided we should make a big commitment to the future of Sheffield. We're having success in providing alternative provision and there's lots of demand for it in Sheffield in particular.
"We've had fantastic help from a raft of organisations and individuals and we now have the funding we need to make these plans a reality."
The trust describes itself as a "classroom in the countryside" which provides outdoor education for children of all ages and young adults as well as specialist provision for children who struggle in mainstream education.
Mr Davies said: "Over the years we have had hundreds of thousands of children come up to Whirlow for one reason or another, and a lot of those will have had life enhancing experiences that they will remember for a very long time.
"Our alternative provision is slightly different, we’re not talking about vast numbers. At the moment we have three classrooms that would take about six children at a time, so on any one day we would have about 20 kids up here. The difference coming to Whirlow might make to them could be the difference between staying in school or being permanently excluded. So the impact can be life changing."
The cafe helps provide a space for events and fundraisers to support the charitable work but Mr Davies said it was currently too small to be financially viable and the expansion will help provide the extra income needed.