Together, we wish to give joy
That's why Mark – who you see here – was so excited to become part of the Kingfisher Café team. In fact, the Café was one of the main reasons he wanted to join our Croft community in Malton.
Learning to use the till. Being involved in serving wonderful food. Meeting so many different people. Today, all the Kingfisher's regular customers know Mark – and he knows he's a valued member of the team.
Opportunities like this, for adults who have disabilities, are few and far between. They're valuable, even unique. And with all our hearts we want to offer more.
Here you'll discover how we can do that, in three different communities, with the help of our friends. We are bubbling over with plans to expand work and other activities to include more people, in ways that add joy to life.
This Christmas, many people like Mark are wishing for chances to learn, to share and to connect in the year ahead.
Please read on and see how these three wishes can come true.
'Wishing to learn'
At Larchfield, Cassie, Paul and other animal-lovers are keen to learn the skills involved in caring for dogs (they're pictured here with Ivory Pearl).
And on this site we have the perfect space to set up a service that would add something really new and exciting to Larchfield, and enable people to contribute with pride to their wider community. Fingers and paws crossed the money can be raised!
'Let's offer something new'
With the success of projects like Daffodil House and the craft workshops, our Larchfield community continued to grow this year. Everything is running at full capacity – but there is a real need, and wish, to provide more opportunities for people to join in.
And that's how the plan to set up a 'Doggy Day Care' service started. Sue, who oversees all the community's workshops, says 'We were considering whether to expand what we are doing already, or to develop something new. We decided to be innovative.
'Doggy Day Care – which provides attention, play, exercise and lots of love for dogs whose owners work – has us all fired up.
'We are all “dog daft” here at Larchfield and with the acreage our community has, there's ample space for a dog day care centre, without it impacting on the houses, other work areas, or farm animals.
'As well as learning the skills involved, working with animals can be very therapeutic for people. We're looking forward to the friendships we'll make with the dogs and their owners too.'
Providing love and care
Once set up, our Doggy Day Care project at Larchfield will generate income to be self-sustaining.
We just need start-up funding to build an indoor and outdoor enclosure for the dogs, and to bring in the equipment, skills and training to provide this lovely new opportunity for people to learn and contribute.
Wishing to share
Joanna and Joseph (pictured right) work at the Kingfisher Café, a project of The Croft community.
'It's one of the most popular cafes in Malton', says Joanna, with pride – and when you see all the goodies she and her colleagues make and serve, it's easy to see why.
Knowing customers are enjoying the lovely food and friendly service is a great feeling. We so hope we can raise the funds to make essential enlargements to the café kitchen area, and enable more people to share in the rewarding work here.
'We really want to make it possible for more people to join in'
Over the last few years, our Kingfisher Café has found itself in the midst of a "foodie" boom in the North Yorkshire market town of Malton. More customers than ever before are coming through the door. There couldn't be a better time to expand the café to involve more people.
'There are lots of different jobs and people really thrive on the social interaction as well', says Nicola, the café manager. 'We want to make it possible for more people to come and join in.'
'But there’s not enough space in the kitchen', explains community member Joanna. Only a few people at a time can work here. The worktop area is only wide enough for one person, and all the bread and cakes are made in a small alcove.
However, there's room to enlarge the kitchen, all the way to the back of the ground floor. Having more equipment – like another oven, and specialist items designed for people who have disabilities – would also enable more people to share in the good work here.
We need support to help us rearrange and enlarge the kitchen, baking, food preparation and refrigeration space at the Kingfisher Café.
As well as benefitting our current team, it will mean more people can contribute to this happy, successful workplace.
Wishing to connect
Every day in Botton Village, people like Ian (pictured left) and David (pictured right) work together to produce so many beautiful, delicious and useful things.
We wish more people would visit us as we love making new friends and showing them what we do. That’s why we hope to turn our village centre into a 'welcome centre' for Botton – starting first with our Store.
Be it here in Botton, at Larchfield or The Croft, the support of our friends this Christmas will help turn wishes into joyful reality.
We'd love to show more people how amazing Botton is
For years, the Botton Village Store has provided households and workshops with groceries and essential items. Here you might find David on the till, Fiona pricing up items, and Etienne doing the store orders.
But it could provide even more work and training opportunities whilst extending a warm welcome to visitors, and enabling them to enjoy and buy our products.
'The Store is at the entrance to Botton', explains Stefan, who has been developing the project. 'It's perfectly placed, and there's a beautiful view of Danby Dale.
'That's why we want to make some changes, to showcase more of the wonderful products made in Botton.'
The combination of shopping and refreshments, the lovely location and of course seeing people like David at work, and how engaged and proud they are, would help us to attract more visitors to Botton. We would love to make more friends.
Making life-enhancing connections
This Christmas, gifts from our friends can help develop Botton Store into a warmly welcoming port of call for visitors.
This will involve building work to create space to display a wide range of products, build a terrace and inside seating area where customers can sit, chat and enjoy a snack, and install a catering kitchen to provide sociable and skilled work activities for residents.
Bringing people together
As well as enjoying all the delightful treats produced daily at the Kingfisher Café in Malton, customers can browse and buy beautiful and practical products that have been handcrafted by people in our communities.
They're often delighted to discover that one of those people, Charlotte, works right here. It's so interesting to meet the person who made the lovely item that has caught your eye! And of course it's a lovely experience for Charlotte too, to know that her work is so appreciated.
Through our learning, sharing and connecting in the year ahead we hope to add joy to more lives.