Published: 17:00, 05 June 2020
| Updated: 17:28, 05 June 2020
A charity farm that says its future is uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic has written a letter to the Prime Minister pleading for it to be allowed to reopen.
Curly’s Farm in Bay View, on Sheppey, was set up by dads Kyle and Garry Ratcliffe, who had their home in Brambledown transformed by the BBC’s DIY SOS team in 2016.
The couple of 12 years say the farm is for all children and adults and it has been designed around the needs of those with disabilities too. They have four adopted children, three of whom have life-limiting medical conditions.
Since opening in 2018, Curly’s Farm has been a huge success but, having had to close because of the coronavirus crisis, the Ratcliffes say its future is "uncertain".
They have now written a letter to Boris Johnson pleading for the farm to be allowed to reopen.
In the letter, Garry said: "I know you have the whole country to think about at the moment, but I need to tell you about Curly's Legacy. We are a small charity based on the Isle of Sheppey and, whilst we may be small, the impact Curly's Legacy has on the children, young people, vulnerable adults and more senior volunteers is certainly not tiny.
"The major part of the charity is Curly's Farm. We have built it from having just one little boy each week, coming to the farm to work with chickens, sheep and pigs. Just over 18 months on, we have moved to a much larger ten acre site to accommodate weekly visits from 250 children, as well as the numerous adults with learning difficulties and our community volunteers."
The former head teacher at Milton Court School in Milton Regis, near Sittingbourne, said that although the farm had to close to all visitors when lockdown began, he and Kyle had to keep going there to feed, water and care for the animals, of which there are more than 200.
"Have you any idea how tough it is to keep something going when there is no end date to this nightmare, with no clear avenues for support?", he asked the PM in the letter.
"Do you know what would make life easier?" he added. "Support from you. Guidance from your government.
"I'm not asking for you to come and help with the lambing. I don't need you to do the poo-picking. I just need clear, unambiguous guidance.
"I need you to tell Kyle when he can welcome people back to Curly's Farm."
Garry also said he wanted to know why "hundreds and thousands" of people could sit on a beach, stand in miles of queues, congregate in parks and children could go back to school, but the farm could not reopen for social-distanced visits.
"Kyle will absolutely fight for Curly's Farm because he knows the worth it has. But with the lack of transparent and clear advice from you and your team, he is losing the will to fight for much longer," he added.
The letter, which has been shared on social media, has received lots of support from the charity's 5,000+ followers.
It has not yet had a response from Mr Johnson.