Work is one of the main sources of fulfilment in our life; being able to contribute to one's community, on whatever level one is able, gives one a sense of fulfilment and achievement; one is part of the team.
Kyle is able to offer a significant number of different work, training and further education possibilities to all its members, thereby ensuring that individuals can find an activity that meets both their needs and the needs of the community.
Being a rural community with 26 acres of land, caring for our organic farm and garden is a major activity for many of the people living and working in Kyle.
We have a very productive market garden run by David, with two large poly tunnels and a large greenhouse (these being good spaces to retreat to for work on wet and miserable days!). A rich variety of vegetables and soft fruits are grown there that keep us fed for much of the year.
On the farm, we have a small number of milking cows that are hand milked once a day. We also have some beef cattle, a couple of pigs and a few sheep, and are planning a flock of free-range chickens in the near future.
Many of our people with special needs, supported by volunteers spend some time every week working on the land. In doing so, everyone can get a sense of the cycle of the year: preparing the ground in spring, then sowing and planting out seedlings. After that follows lots of weeding before we can begin to harvest the various crops in early summer and through the autumn and winter.
We are blessed with a pottery, weavery and basket workshop, which are run by our skilled craft masters, Sonja, Christina and Heike, who are all, employed on a part-time basis. These crafts provide a skills training as well as having a certain therapeutic activity. In supporting the people with special needs, the volunteers also get an opportunity to learn these skills. All three workshops make high-quality, creative products, and the pottery in particular is highly productive. The articles that are made are sold in the store, at our annual open day and in local craft fairs.
Although we have some help from employed staff in cleaning the houses, much is still left for us to do, not to speak of the laundry and cooking. These are fruitful areas for meaningful work where many of our people with special needs contribute with the support of volunteers.
Many of our people also benefit from activities out with Kyle. Micky and John Paul spend two days a week doing drama with Equinox Theatre, and Marian, Emma and Maria spend one day a week attending an art course at KCAT; they are all supported in these activities by volunteers from the community who also benefit from the opportunity of being in KCAT. And Nick gets a day a week at KCAT doing sculpture as a balance to his medical, teaching and administrative work.
Other activities include woodworking for David at Kings River and computer lessons for Marian at Kilkenny.
Finally, we need to remember the therapies that are available for many of our people in Kyle including massage, hydrotherapy and eurhythmy (movement) therapy.