Client: Sue Evans
Location: Skegness, Lincolnshire
Installation date: 17.07.12
Windcrop has installed a small wind turbine at Willow Farm to cut rising energy bills and help the Lincolnshire Rural Education Centre to continue providing animal care courses for children with special needs and valuable work experience and qualifications for young people aspiring to animal related careers.
Willow Farm is an enterprising smallholding in Thorpe Fendykes, Skegness. Run by ex-school teacher Sue Evans for nearly 30 years, the farm boasts a menagerie of animals including ponies, rabbits, goats, chickens, reptiles and ducks.
In school term time the farm acts as an outreach centre for the College of West Anglia to provide Level 1 Animal Care and Equine diploma/NVQ courses for children excluded from school or those with learning difficulties and special needs. It also provides work experience opportunities and up to Level 3 courses for school leavers and mature students looking to venture into animal related careers such as veterinary nurses, RSPCA jobs, yard managers or grooms.
During the school holidays Willow Farm also runs riding holidays for children aged between 8 and 16. The children stay at the farm and have a taste of what it would be like to look after their own pony as well as practising their riding skills and taking part in competitions.
But to run the farm and provide all of this valuable work and education also requires a large amount of electricity.
Sue explained: “Our exotic animals, which include geckos, hermit crabs and frogs, need a variety of heat lamps and mats. We also need flood lights for the pony yard and our all weather areas so that people can ride in the winter months. These are all things we can’t change or cut back on, but our energy bills have being going up and up. The turbine will be a Godsend in helping us to save on these costs.”
Sue approached Windcrop to have a turbine installed at the farm, which is situated in the heart of the Fens, having looked into all forms of renewable energy first.
“The deciding factor in choosing Windcrop was the look of the turbine,” said Sue. “I think it’s really pretty, which is important as we are in such a picturesque setting. It’s not noticeable as you drive up to the farm unless you make a conscious effort to look for it.”
The 15 metre high turbine was installed within two days at the farm’s pony paddocks.
Sue added: “I did have some initial concerns about how the horses and ponies would react, but Windcrop reassured me from the start that the animals would not be bothered, and they were right.
“The turbine is actually in the paddock which is home to our most ‘scatty’ pony. But even on the windiest day we have had so far, when the blades are going round really fast and there was a faint whirring sound, all the pony did was look up at it and then carry on eating. We’ve often seen him rubbing against it as a scratching post.”
The addition of a visible form of renewable energy has also proved to be a good fit with Willow Farm’s own animal-focussed ethos and educational courses.
“The children are fascinated with the turbine,” said Sue. “I think it’s incredibly important that the next generation understand the importance of conserving energy and learn about renewable energy for the future. Helping to create a sustainable future fits hand in hand with our educational courses and riding holidays which are designed to inspire people to provide proper care for animals and to understand and protect their natural environments.”