Staff, supporters and team workers at the Oak Tree Rural Farm Project, near Hilderstone, celebrated the grand switch on of their new solar electricity system on Wednesday 1st May. Provided at cost price by local firm Loryan Renewable Engineering, the green technology is set to save the charity around £1300 every year.
Now in its 27th year, Oak Tree Farm, situated on the Harrowby Estate of Sandon, provides training and supported occupation for adults with learning disabilities, in a rural environment.
Oak Tree General Manager, David Moreton, said,
“Our new solar system will cut our electricity bill in half and help reduce our carbon footprint at the same time. This saving go a long way to keeping the charity sustainable for our team members with disabilities. We are very grateful to everyone who made this possible, especially Lady Harrowby and Leigh Naylor from Loryan.”
Around half of the cost of the system was met by fundraising events held by the Dowager Countess of Harrowby, including an all day bridge event and lunch last October and a Christmas concert featuring the Ingestre Singers at Sandon Hall.
Lady Jane, the Dowager Countess of Harrowby told us,
“It’s a wonderful project. You always leave feeling that much richer for having been there. I urge everyone to visit us at the plant fair on Friday May 10th for our annual sale of plants for the garden and vegetable plants for the kitchen garden grown by our team workers, and, of course, enjoy some tea and cakes in the Oak Leaf Tea Room, cooked and served by team members.”
Leigh Naylor, managing director of Loryan said,
“We take our responsibility to the wider community very seriously. We are happy to have supplied the system at cost and help such a worthwhile cause.”
Cllr Brian Cross, Mayor of Stafford said,
“Once again I’m delighted to see Oak Tree expanding. I think they do a super job here. It’s a little hidden gem. Oak Tree Farm has been one of my main charities during my year as mayor. I first visited four years ago, so it was easy to decide to support it. I will be pleased to be handing over a cheque for £5000 to the project at the end of my year on Saturday 11th May.”