Council to consider the future of Thrift Farm

A council report considering the future of Thrift Farm has been published today [25 January 2019].Located in Whaddon near Milton Keynes, Thrift Farm currently provides day activities and supported employment to around69 people,36 of which are Buckinghamshire County Council clients (Milton Keynes Council and some privately funded clients from other authorities accounts for most of the rest).

The report, which asks for approval to consult on the future of Thrift Farm,follows a previous report considered by Cabinet on 23 April 2018 looking atthe ongoing viability of Thrift Farm. Details of the previous report can found here:

Although popular with local residents as a visitor attraction, it faces a number of challenges as an adult social care service. These include accessibility of the location; managing health and safety risks for vulnerable people; and financial viability. The Farm started 2018/19 with a funding pressure of £351,000.

Options put forward as part of the proposed consultation on the future of Thrift Farm include:

1. Do nothing
2. Identify an alternative provider or providers to take over the adult social care operations and functions of the farm in a financially viable and sustainable way.
3. Decommission the adult social care service

Lin Hazell, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Thrift Farm has been supporting adults with learning difficulties for over 40 years. I know that many of them will be upset to hear that we are looking at its future. I want to assure them and their families that their voices will be heard and that [whatever the outcome of consultation] they will not be left without a suitable service to meet their needs.

“Doing nothing is not an option. Thrift Farm is not sustainablein its current form. We have looked at options for other providers to take over the adult social care operations and functions of the farm but so far none have been viable. We are hoping thatthrough consultation we can find a solution that meets the needs of clients and their families – as well as minimises the budget challenges we face in managing future demand.”

The report will be considered by the Council’s Cabinet on Monday 4 February. If agreed the consultation would run for six weeks from the 13 February – 27 March 2019.

If any service users, parents, carers or general members of the public have concerns, they can email us at or call us on 01296 383 122 and leave a message.

Further information about the report and any decisions taken can be found on our website

The Cabinet Report and meeting agenda can be found here: