Welcome to Brogdale CIC

a community interest company

The vision of Brogdale CIC is to enable young people with disabilities to take part in a range of leisure and work opportunities as an integral part of the activities of the local communities they are a part of.

Arts & Lego

This fun and creative club is run at the Rainbow Centre opposite Wyvern School in Ashford.  It is held on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month from 4.30 – 6.00 pm.  This is a real opportunity for families to mix and chill out.  Siblings often come along too. Parents can sit and chat whilst their young people explore a new idea with arts and crafts or dive into the Lego and Duplo, kindly donated by Lego.  The young people really can let their imagination go wild as they construct a new town or space age world with all the bricks and characters.\r\n\r\nBecause the club is held in the Rainbow Centre, there is also the opportunity to use the soft play area and sensory room, as well as enjoying the club.

Muddy Wellies

“Muddy Wellies” is a community farm in Smeeth, Ashford.

The vision is to –

  • Create a learning environment for special schools to come on a daily basis to gain work experience
  • Develop a learning environment for disabled young adults to come on a daily basis to gain real work experience and or to engage in an enjoyable occupation
  • Provide a safe space for young people who have found school a struggle and would like to explore an alternative education
  • Be open for visits from any primary or secondary school in order to engage with nature, learn about rural crafts, the environment and how to grow food and eat healthily.
  • Build a market garden business which demonstrates the food chain cycle and offers the opportunity for the local community to be supplied with fresh produce, thus enabling the farm to be self-sustaining.
  • Offer a social activities venue for young people with disabilities, in order that families can experience short break activities such as day camps
  • Be a business incubator space for the germination of new ideas.

The farm encompasses 3.5 acres of horticulture land.  There are three poly- tunnels, an orchard and large barn for doing land based activities.  There is a classroom with kitchen, bathroom facilities and plenty of parking space.

Cooking Up Ideas

Cooking Up Ideas cookery clubs are run on Tuesdays in the Food with Friends café in the Gateway Plus in Ashford.  The seniors’ club, 14 to 18 year olds runs from 10am to 12noon weekly and the juniors’ club 8 to 13 year olds, runs from 1.15pm to 2.30pm every other week.  The clubs offer fabulous opportunity to learn about and of course to enjoy it!   The young people learn where food comes from, about nutrition, how to make a variety of dishes as well as how to  present them.  Coming together with food is a fun event which helps to develop social and independent skills.  During the year, each young person with supported, cook a meal and shares it with the rest of the group.

The clubs are so popular we are hoping to run an adult cookery club soon!

Fundamental to the clubs’ ethos is being self-sustaining. By selling their products, sourced where possible from Muddy Wellies where possible, this can be achieved. And, in the actual selling of their products at market, they are learning value retail skills.


Feedback in 2012 from our young people participating in Brogdale CIC activities, clearly reported that they were keen to work in an environmentally conscious manner.  Great concerned is indicated by our young people that taking care in whatever way we can is vital in order that future generations can also enjoy and appreciate our planet.

In responding to these concerns Brogdale CIC is using “free cycle” to source and dispose of items.  For our arts and woodwork projects we try whenever possible to use recycled materials.


‘Food with Friends’ is a café in the heart of the Gateway Plus in Ashford town centre.  It’s social business run by our staff and members of the project. The café caters for members of the public and staff  who visit and work within the Gateway Plus complex.  At ‘Food with Friends’ we source our produce, where possible, from the local community including our farm, Muddy Wellies.  Many of the items sold are produced in house by our two chefs.  Jams and chutneys on sale are made by our young people in ‘Cooking Up Ideas’ our cookery club.

The café is a learning environment. Special schools bring their students to gain experience of working in customer service and catering.  One school has taken this a step further by inviting us in to their school to set up and run a café with their students.

‘Food with Friends’ is also a place where learning disabled adults can come and participate in the café environment, learning independent living skills and work related skills.

The café provides takeaway and catering services too and as we are in the Gateway Plus we have had the pleasure of providing wedding breakfasts.

To see our opening hours and menus please go to www.foodwithfriendscafe.com/

If you need directions, here’s a link to the Gateway Plus web site:  www.kent.gov.uk/ashfordgatewayplus

Faversham Youth Club

Brogdale CIC has been running arts and crafts activities and fun social events in the newly built West Faversham Community Centre.  As a result an opportunity has arisen to come together with Creed Outdoor Learning, Amicus Horizon and WFCC thus forming a consortia.  The consortia made a bid to run the youth service in Faversham – and now is doing so

Brogdale CIC holds a youth group on Mondays from 5.30 to 7.30pm at WFCC for disabled young people ages 11 to 25 years.  We have lots of fun with Duplo and Lego, crafts, Wii, DVD nights, pool, air hockey, large 10 pin bowling and Jenga and so much more. Come along and help us shape the youth service that you want.

For more details of the Faversham Youth Service please go to www.favershamyc.co.uk


Craftworks is a pre-apprenticeship programme aimed at young people who are not in education, training or employment. Craftwork comes alongside 16 to 18 year olds who may have found mainstream education not the most suitable learning environment.  Craftworks seeks to give them work experience in grounds maintenance, horticulture at our farm sites, retail and customer service skills.  Students can work towards the bronze level Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and keep learning with tuition in functional maths and English.  For those with a special educational need they may take part aged 16 – 24

Craftwork can be accessed in both the Faversham and Ashford areas.  As part of the work in Faversham, participants will be able to help restored a Victorian walled garden.

Horse Riding

Brogdale CIC is now in its fourth year working alongside riding stables. This cooperation has provided young people with taster sessions plus the opportunity to acquaint themselves, with horses, in their spare time.  They are able see the horses, to stroke them or brush them gently. With the confidence that this can give they can progress to sitting on a horse and taking a ride in or out of doors. When further confidence develops they can practise commands and learn how to handle the rains.

All of the above is dependent on experienced Brogdale CIC staff and the willing expert Whiteleaf Stables staff.

Many young people have gone on to ride independently at the stables.

But no matter how much they are able to achieve, they are enriched by the sessions and enjoy themselves greatly.

Special Events

As part of the leisure activities we run some special events throughout the year.  We try to add in as much fun as we can during the holiday periods.  We have run Christmas, New Year, Valentines and Easter parties, trips to the Rare Breeds centre, Archery, BBQs, scarecrow making, pumpkin hunt and an Olympic sports event. We also run regular discos, craft making events and environmental projects.  We are always interested to hear what other things you would like to do so email us with your suggestions!

Pruning Time

This project started, with a group of adults with learning disabilities, restoring and refurbishing a garden on the Brogdale Farm site.  The garden had been a “Chelsea Garden” gold medal winner. It had been transplanted at Brogdale farm and then sadly forgotten.  This ‘lost treasure’ had been designed as an edible garden and the guys worked hard to restore it to its former glory.  The Grow garden centre was impressed and offered further projects needing help.  All went very well.  Word spread.  The guys now form part of Amicus Horizons grounds maintenance service engaging in work in their community housing.  The team clears gardens, prunes, plants and builds.  Their amazing transformations can be seen on our blog.

Gardening Clubs

Schools allotment area

Students have designed, prepared and planted an allotment within the Brogdale Farm grounds. This site includes a pergola, which the students have constructed.  Also they have built manger planters for wheel chair users to be able to access gardening. Students are growing a range of fruit and vegetables that can be taken home to parents or sold through our outlets.  A workshop, greenhouse and poly-tunnel plus a log cabin have been erected within Grow garden centre.  These facilities enable planning, planting and design activities to take place no matter the weather.  There is further allotment that is currently being turned into a junkyard garden

Growing for the Future

The Saturday gardening club meets from 10am – 1pm each week at Brogdale Farm.  The young people learn the whole process of seed to harvest growing and of course the club is a good social scene too!  Each year the group works alongside our adults to plan, grow and deliver a garden for the Kent County Show and each year they have won Gold.  The 2011 garden was visited by HRH the Duke of Kent and the 2012 by John Craven from Country file.  In 2013 the garden shown was judged to be 1 point less than Hadlow College’s garden.  This was a fantastic outcome for our students who are not professionals or at a horticulture college!

Muddy Wellies Sunday Gardening Club

With 3.5 acres to work on the young people are never bored.  They have been preparing the poly-tunnels for this season’s seeds which will produce crops for sale and for our café FWF.  Last year they were very successful with good crops of onions, courgettes and squashes.  This year they are looking to produce a wider range of market garden products.  One of the more enjoyable activities has been the creation of a bark chippings path, a woodland walkway, enabling greater access around site.

Branching Out

In conjunction with St. Nicholas School, Canterbury, a retail area has been established with Brogdale Collections to be used as a shop for the sale of Orchard Tours and items sourced by the schools and young people and adults with disabilities. Some of the gifts and souvenirs sold in the shop have been developed and made by those with disabilities. The students have developed their own range of gifts featuring photographs they have taken around the site. These are key rings, post cards and mugs. They also sell bird boxes, hanging baskets and decorated flower pots, pictures, jewellery, note pads and cards.  It is staffed by two students and a supervisor from schools during school hours (10 – 2, Monday to Friday). It has also been possible to open during festivals and summer holidays to give further work experience to both young people and adults.


Please support our project for further information contact Rebecca O’Neill 07812 416344 or email rebecca@brogdalecic.co.uk