CuparNow KnowHow – Lucky Ewe
The incredible variety of organisations in Cupar never ceases to amaze us. We are delighted to feature a unique Cupar-based charity in our latest CuparNow KnowHow … Lucky Ewe. The registered charity offers the opportunity for people to look after the needs of a flock of dairy sheep, develop basic husbandry skills and do outdoor work in the fresh air. We caught up with the charity’s founder, Dr Joan Brown, to discover more …
In 2019, an inaugural meeting was held by Dr Brown – who had previously been working a small flock of dairy sheep and making cheese – to establish Lucky Ewe as a charity and to form a membership of interested individuals. Joan explains: “SCIO registration was achieved in March 2020 and from this beginning, the charity grew … gaining funding, attracting volunteers and beginning our work with beneficiaries.”
Joan adds: “Many people have experienced setbacks in education, in work, in their mental health or through bereavement, particularly due to the present Covid 19 epidemic. They may now feel a need to move forward with their lives or to rebuild resilience.” In particular, the charity welcomes people with additional support needs and those who would benefit from working with animals in a calm and friendly environment.
The founding members are all from an educational background in the area of adult learning and additional support needs. Joan says: “Coming from that background, we were aware that there is a need to provide a bridge between leaving school and entering employment or tertiary education for people with additional support needs. One of the founding principles behind Lucky Ewe SCIO is to address that need … and to break down the barriers which lead to disempowerment in the community.”
The charity employs three part-time staff – two education support officers and an office administrator. They oversee the provision of work experience. Delivered in the fresh air – alongside a flock of dairy sheep – provides a chance to “do something different” and to “enhance the mental health and physical well-being” of all who take part in the activities.
The charity gained its status in March 2020 – and then Covid 19 came along. Joan says: “Our achievement so far is that we have continued to thrive and steadily build our beneficiary base, husband our livestock and land and continue to move towards a viable future – despite the obstacles thrown up in the last 15 months.” They rent land at a smallholding near New Gilston for their small flock of dairy sheep with additional grazing at Cuparmuir and Springfield.
They are aiming to secure permanent premises at NHS Stratheden through community asset transfer. Joan says: “This will allow us to increase the Lucky Ewe flock and in the longer term to produce other food crops – eggs, honey, hard and soft fruits and vegetables – each with its own potential for training and work experience placements.”
Lucky Ewe welcomes people of all abilities and backgrounds. Working with Lucky Ewe provides work experience, routine and structure, team working and – last but not least – a sense of achievement, enjoyment and increased well-being. The charity actively supports people to achieve new skills, gain physical and mental health benefits, and rebuild confidence – to help progress towards employment.
Joan explains the charity’s current position saying: “Communities in Scotland are experiencing severe economic pressure and deterioration in well-being because of the Covid-19 pandemic.” She adds: “Rehabilitation and regeneration are needed now, and in the future, to help communities to recover. The outdoors and working with animals have been proven to enhance mental well-being and to bring a sense of peace and purpose. Lucky Ewe embraces this – offering a path to a new job, volunteering opportunities and beneficial placements for those in need in the community.”
As with all who feature in our profiles, we asked what would be recommended for someone visiting Cupar for the first time – or for the first time in a long time: “We would recommend the local shops and small businesses which retain their individuality and reflect Cupar’s history as the old county capital and the spectacular sweeping views from the top of the Hill of Tarvit.”
Want to get involved? Lucky Ewe depends on its volunteers, people who generally want to spend time outside, work on the land and help others build up their confidence and skills. Volunteers usually choose to come along once a week for a session of about 3 hours. Tasks include feeding the sheep, putting up fences and clearing a field of thistles. Volunteers can also support Lucky Ewe by carrying out more office-type tasks for the charity. Some volunteers are keen to get more fully involved in Lucky Ewe (SCIO 050034) and put themselves forward as Charity Trustees. In general Trustees would expect to give 4 hours of their valuable time each month to the charity. This breaks down, roughly, into half an hour of preparation, then 1.5 hours in the Trustees’ meeting (currently via Zoom) and perhaps 2 hours for each Trustee to follow through on their action points. Trustee training and support will be available from Fife Voluntary Action.
Lucky Ewe is keen to recruit new volunteers.
The outdoor work is very enjoyable. As one old hand noted: “My Tuesday morning is a lifeline for me – coming here keeps me sane”. And there really is a lot of scope for individuals who want to make a difference. You can get involved and develop new ways of carrying the charity forward. Check out Lucky Ewe constitution to see if you want to sign up to our aims.
Interested in volunteering? Drop the charity an email via this link.
Thanks for reading!