AN ORGANIC smallholding is celebrating getting one step closer to completing work on its new education centre.
Tuppenny Barn, in Southbourne, raised £1,300 at a recent open day and fundraising continues in a bid to complete the centre, which will be a venue for schools and communities to find out about sustainability and organic food production.
“We’re fundraising every which way and we’re hoping to get the centre open at the end of the year or early spring,” said Maggie Haynes, Tuppenny Barn’s director and project manager.
“I’m delighted with where we’re at, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”
The open afternoon on Sunday, July 7, saw visits from Dunreyth alpacas from Adsdean, seasonal cookery demonstrations, cream teas, a ukelele band, and tours of the site.
The car park was full at its peak and people skipped watching Andy Murray win Wimbledon to help support Maggie and her team.
Maggie said the project aimed to build a brighter, more sustainable future for people of all ages in West Sussex and Hampshire.
The smallholding has been hosting school visits since 2006 and it is hoped the new educational centre can help bring Tuppenny Barn to an even wider audience.
“Recent research has revealed that Britain has the most overweight inhabitants in Europe,” said Maggie.
“The same research found one in three children is overweight before he or she leaves primary school.
“Something has to be done about this and educating children about the importance of healthy eating is an excellent start.”
The new education centre is now more than half complete.
In keeping with the aims and objectives of the project, the centre is being made from natural materials and incorporates several low-energy design features including foundations of recycled tyres, a traditional green-oak frame and lime-rendered straw bale walls, and a roof of cedar shingles – the largest of its type in the UK.
It will also have solar and air-source heating, a rainwater collection system and a hydroponic living wall.
In addition to providing an all-weather classroom for a comprehensive programme of school group visits, the education centre will also be used by community groups and for adult and family workshops and courses.