Hannahs celebrate fourth anniversary

Staff, guests and volunteers at Hannahs celebrate four years

Staff, guests and volunteers at Hannahs celebrate four years - Credit: Archant

A local charity has transformed an old, disused building into a thriving social enterprise, supporting hundreds of people with a range of disabilities and learning difficulties every year.

Four years ago the Dame Hannah Rogers Trust, known as Hannahs, opened Seale-Hayne, an old agricultural college on the outskirts of Newton Abbot, as a ground breaking solution to the complete lack of appropriate facilities for adults with disabilities.

Over the last four years the Trust has totally transformed the site into an amazing place for the whole community – open to everyone of all abilities, 7 days a week - with outdoor activities, arts, music, health and wellbeing centre, horticulture, events, a farm, bar and Bistro to name just a few.

The adults supported by Hannahs can learn new skills, enrich their lives and enjoy all there is to offer amongst friends. They attend music sessions and art sessions, help out in the horticulture area which supplies food to the Bistro, learn how to look after the farm animals and work across the site including the gallery, gift shops and Bistro.

Over the last four years Hannahs has been awarded the Social Enterprise Mark, opened a Health and Wellbeing Centre including one of the largest hydro therapy pools of its kind in the South-west, transformed an area of field into a beautiful potager and bee garden, opened a Bistro and gift shops and held a huge number of popular events.

Seale-Hayne has also become one of the leading arts venue in the South West. Exhibitions from the V&A and Hayward Gallery in London featuring works by major artists such as Matisse and Banksy attracted over 10,000 visitors to the Gallery over the summer. The Great Hall has seen the likes of the Military Wives Choir perform on stage and the Yellow Rooms has been the venue for many live gigs.

It also has a large number of volunteers who work at Seale-Hayne on a regular basis and there are some major companies such as EE, First Great Western, UPS and Bond Dickinson, Sutton Harbour, Flybe and Midas who are now regular supporters through their volunteering and fundraising.

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Hannahs also had the honour of welcoming the Olympic Torch to Seale-Hayne in 2012 while it was on its Devon leg of the relay to the Olympic Stadium and more recently over 3000 people attended the first ever two-day Christmas Fayre at Seale-Hayne which raised nearly £39,000.

The Trust has launched its new Reach and Transition H services which offers assessment, intervention, opportunities and support for people with neurodisabilities including Autism, ADHD and acquired brain injuries. The service uses a wide range of expertise including Speech and Language, Physiotherapists, Psychologists and Occupational Therapists.

Hannahs Chief Executive, Bronwen Hewitt, said: “We arrived at Seale-Hayne four years ago with great hope and our hearts in our mouths. We love to celebrate every year and to see it today ...such a special place working its magic on everyone who comes through the arch is so heart warming.

“We are open 7 days a week with free entry and whether you are enjoying a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, buying something from the shop, making a donation or attending a music event, you are supporting Hannahs and the people we are here for.”