The Willows was set up by Tom Popham in February 2017. It is situated on a small farm in East Lyng, conveniently located within a 15 minute drive from Taunton, Bridgwater and Street.
The Willows provides a fantastic opportunity for young adults with learning disabilities to meet new people and learn a huge variety of new skills. We run a very active service that replicates a work environment more so than a traditional day centre.
We are a new, fun and enthusiastic day centre that would love to hear from you.
The Willows primary aim is to help enable service users achieve individual targets. As an organisation we strive to create an environment that allows personal development through achieving both individual outcomes as well as physical and social progression. At The Willows, we are constantly striving to make learning fun and dynamic so that all of our service users can accomplish their goals.
What to expect
Day to day activities
The majority of our activities take place outdoors. Service users can expect to participate in range of things from: gardening, fencing, hedge cutting, logging and working with small animals on the farm. We also do woodwork, cooking and fitness sessions. The Willows also provides facilities for arts, crafts and indoor working. We aim to provide days offsite as well as opportunities for work experience and volunteering placements. Our activities will be dependent on the outcomes that the individual involved would like to achieve; we will encourage the service user to decide their own targets in working with their social carer or legal guardian. The Willows looks to provide a range of opportunities and activities that help enable independence that are both challenging yet rewarding for individuals.
Woodwork, Arts and Crafts
The Willows is set on a 100 acre farm on the Somerset levels. The extensive spread of land itself can provide hours of activity as well as being home to a huge array of wildlife. We have several outbuildings and sheds on the farm which are home to our sheep, calves, chickens and larger livestock.
We have a classroom with toilet facilities that service users can use as a central hub. This provides an area for indoor activities in the wetter months as well as being somewhere to eat lunch and store personal belongings.
We have a large woodwork shed that is used to make a variety of handmade woodcraft items, including bird boxes, garden items and small seasonal gifts. It is also used for furniture restoration and for any repairs that made need addressing on the farm.
We also have a small gym onsite that includes a cross-trainer, spin bike and a few small weights that service users can use as little or as often as they would like.
Work experience and Volunteering
The Willows works in partnership with several local businesses creating opportunities for service users to volunteer and gain work experience. These opportunities help our service users reach their personal goals and can hopefully lead on to long term work placements outside of The Willows. It also provides a unique opportunity to engage with the local community. This can help develop social skills, improve self-esteem and provide a sense of pride for service users.
During the summer months we are looking to run a gardening business around the local villages on the Somerset levels. The idea, a bit like our volunteering, is to engage with the local community by offering a gardening service to those who would like it. Service users can help with all aspects of the business for instance: managing the books, lawn mowing, general maintenance and care of equipment. It also provides the chance to raise the profile of learning disabilities through connecting with local people.
The Willows is open from 09:00-17:00 and our service is charged at an hourly rate. There is no flat day rate which we hope allows service users to choose how long they would like to attend, arriving and leaving when it is most convenient. The idea is to try and be as flexible as possible in order to meet the needs of both our service users and their families.
Where to find us
We are situated on the premises of Northmoor View in East Lyng, on the A361, Taunton to Glastonbury road. We are 15 minutes from Taunton town centre and only 20 minutes from Bridgwater and Street.
The Willows offers a limited transport service for its service users for a small charge. We are situated on the Taunton to Wells bus route, number 29 and are only a two minute walk from the bus stop with buses passing through the village every hour.
The Willows has been set up by Tom Popham. Although only in his mid twenties, Tom has had 6 years experience working with learning disabilities and has attained a level 6 diploma in management and care.
He was born and raised on the farm and plays semi professional rugby at the weekend. His laid back and down to earth personality along with his drive to make a difference to people is sure to make the Willows a great place to be.
If you would like any more information about The Willows or would like to arrange a visit, please email us at:
or follow the link to our facebook page for regular updates.
We hope to hear from you soon.