What is Farm in the Dell (FITD)?
In short, it's a setting that presents a new way of life to the developmentally disabled people of the world in a farm setting. Their only Canadian location so far is in Aberdeen, Saskatchewan, with other opportunities currently in the United States, but also Mexico, and as far away as Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan!
Their vision statement shares that they provide Residential & Vocational opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities in a Saskatchewan based rural farm-like setting. Farm in the Dell's mission statement on the other hand shares that they are a non-profit organization that strives to enhance the emotional, physical and spiritual lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities through residential, vocational, recreational and community services within Saskatchewan.
The West Central Online newsroom received a file back in September detailing the community of Biggar's possible bid for a FITD location. The information was sent over by Biggar-Sask Valley MLA Randy Weekes sharing the five-step process they would need to go through, the capital costs associated with such a project, along with operating costs and just a budget breakdown in general.
Having this in the community would be a major positive according to Weekes, though it is just another project on the list here in Saskatchewan.
"I spoke to the Minister about the project. He said it's part of the budgetary process, which we won't know until the budget is released in March," said Weekes, who is also the House Speaker, "He thinks it's a great project, but he also says there are dozens of great projects. That is always the problem with budgetary business. There is never really a bad project out there that isn't worthy, it's just a matter of priority."
With this project just one in a long list waiting for approval, the details show that for Farm in the Dell specifically, the demand is there.
The First Step being the overwhelming support from the Town itself, as over 160 signatures have been collected across various meetings in support of FITD.
"FITD currently has a waiting list of 50 + people who have requested to live at a FITD."
The document shares that Biggar has all the services needed and more to support FITD, and already has commitments regarding the location, and a future roadmap surrounding the site. Many groups in the area have also indicated supports and services for the project as well.
The Community's need and desire to set up a FITD is a key tenant of the Second Step. According to the email, on top of the 50 people who are on the waitlist, there are 12 more who just made application from the Biggar area community and many more who are waiting for approval prior to submitting their application. Not only is the housing aspect
Farm in the Dell is seeing more demand currently that what they previously planned for as not only the housing aspect is creating interest. They also know of additional individuals who want the vocational programming at Biggar for a day program. Work is being done in this regard, and local members have been in contact with social workers, teachers, and other community members to assess their needs.
"There is never really a bad project out there that isn't worthy, it's just a matter of priority."
They have the land and services needed for the most part as mentioned, but the Third Step revolves mostly around the actual infrastructure that needs to be implemented for a full Farm in the Dell including between two and five bedroom homes attached for a total of 10 residential spaces.
They also need vocational work buildings and programs for the future residents, plus up to 7 more spots for others in the community. The information packet states the building would have room to support more individuals which could support future expansion on the farm for more homes in the future. All of this can be helped out by the possibilities of partnerships in the community which promote inclusion.
The Fourth Step sees the Community of Biggar’s financial commitment, as they are committed to raising $500,000 towards the Capital Costs, and have the donation of land and road totals coming in at $262,000 from the Town and RM.
View the Fifth Step checking out the complete capital costs, operating costs and more in the graphic below obtained from the news packet:
Biggar Capital Costs
|Item||Value||Money Raised by Biggar||Final Capital|
|2-5 Bedroom homes (10 spots)||$900,000||$500,000||$400,000|
|Vocational Building (could hold 25+ residents)||$750,000||$0||$750,000|
|Land, Road, Driveway & Utilities||$262,000||$262,000||$0|
Biggar Operating Costs
|Biggar Home Operational Costs (inc. mortgage) (approx. 15-20 staff)||$870,000|
|Biggar Vocational Costs(inc. mortgage) (approx. 5-7 staff)||$370,000|
|Head Office Saskatoon –to support both locations and any future FITD locations (Executive Director, CFO, HR, Tech, Payroll/Benefits admin, Rent)||$340,000|
|Total in new Funding Requests||$1,580,000|
*This includes the Mortgage costs of the home & vocational program for each fiscal year
•FITD Biggar Contribution $762,000
•FITD would purchase greenhouse, machinery, barn, vans
•$1,115,000 Government Contribution (Operating costs Capital would include mortgage)
•Current Funding received $1,604,605 Operating
•Current Ask for Biggar $1,560,000* (includes mortgage)
•$70,000/person Residential a year
•$21,000/person Vocational programming/year