Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre - Home Page

Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre,

Ponderosa Park, Off Smithies Lane, Heckmondwike WF16 0PN.
Tel/Fax: 01924 235276  Email: info@ponderosa-centre.co.uk

Ponderosa Rare Breeds Farm Ponderosa Rare Breeds Farm

About the Ponderosa Centre

The Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre was established by a group of people who wanted to help bridge the gap between disabled and able bodied people.

Since its conception in 1991, when 6 students with 6 plants and sixty pounds from Ravensthorpe Social Educational Centre began sowing seeds donated by Beardsworths Garden Centre over 40 people have benefited from working in the greenhouses. Ponderosa Centre now runs a very successful business.

The Rare Breeds Farm

The farm started as a hobby for Maureen Cook in 1992 with several rare breeds, including llamas and emus. It soon became a favourite with the people from the local community and we soon realised that caring for the animals assisted their personal development. People who previously had very limited communication skills, very little farming knowledge and low self-esteem were now becoming very adept workers with increasing confidence and vastly improved social skills. Some moved on to gain skills elsewhere, some are now competent workers at Ponderosa, working in the joiners shop, taking care of the animals, even to the extent of lambing sheep without needing any help. These are people who could not communicate or use public transport when they first visited the farm.

The number of different rare breeds on the farm has continued to increase and there are now pigs, peacocks, highland cows, goats, horses, donkeys, birds of prey, llamas, several different kinds of birds and many, many more.

As the word has spread local schools and playgroups began to bring groups of 30 or more children to see the well cared for animals at Ponderosa, to further their curricula studies or just for a day out.

The growing success and obvious necessity in the community prompted Howard and Maureen Cook to develop the venture further, into the Ponderosa that can be seen today.

Construction of a visitor centre began in January 1997. This now provides facilities such as toilets for the disabled and a refreshment area. A veranda has been incorporated giving beautiful views of the lake, animal sheds and surrounding countryside.

Ponderosa Rare Breeds Farm Play Area

The Future

The Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre is fast becoming an invaluable resource to the community. It provides opportunities for employment, enables the development of horticulture, agriculture and social skills and provides great therapeutic value to all its visitors. Our aim is not only to ensure that every person who visits our centre benefits personally in some way, regardless of their age, abilities or disabilities, but also to help Bridge the Gap between all these many varied people. It gives us an opportunity to raise the awareness of people as individuals, regardless of their restriction or limitations and gives every visitor the chance to meet others from all walks of life.

The prestigious Way Ahead Award was presented to Ponderosa by Kirklees Council to acknowledge the excellent provision for the disabled that we offer, e.g. disabled toilets, walkways to all areas, parking etc.

We have successfully received the Investor in People Award. IIP and member of the Yorkshire Tourism awards.

Farms for SchoolsInvestors in PeopleVisitor Attraction Quality Assurance SchemeKirklees Way Ahead award for access for disabled peopleYorkshire Tourist Board Member

Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre,

Ponderosa Park, Off Smithies Lane, Heckmondwike WF16 0PN.
Tel/Fax: 01924 235276  Email: info@ponderosa-centre.co.uk

Ponderosa Park