Flynne’s Barn is now up and running – our doors opened to young people in October 2021.
Although the build has taken longer than planned and there have been various obstacles to overcome, last autumn we were able to welcome a small residential group in collaboration with CancerCare, a charity doing fantastic work with young people in the South Lakes and Lancashire.
It’s hard to convey the sense of satisfaction we felt on that first night. Seeing the lights twinkle in the barn across the farmyard and visitors enjoy the space, it was clear that the vision is being realised. We are delighted that the layout in the barn functions well and has since accommodated a group of 20 in the infamous Borrowdale rain.
Visits so far
The periods of reflection in 2021 and the networking we have done show that there is a need for us to work more broadly with families where a young person has a cancer diagnosis, and with professionals working in the field. Supporting young people will always be at the heart of what we do but it is exciting to know that Flynne’s Barn can offer this broader and much needed support too. We’ll be offering team visits for training, team building and professional development.
During the summer of 2021 when lockdowns eased the barn was still under development. We welcomed some members of the Teenage Cancer Trust team based in the Northwest to the farm for a sunny day-visit in May. Referrals followed and in the summer we hosted a family and a couple for Flynne’s Barn visits. Their insights proved to be invaluable in helping us to develop our ideas and plans.
We’re building a partnership with CancerCare and welcomed their Re-Fresh group of young people for a day-visit in August 2021. They had great fun ghyll-scrambling up Hause Gill (this involves a guided walk/scramble up a mountain river). The barn was almost finished at this point so their warm reaction to the space was welcomed: “The most comfy house!”
At the end of October 2021 we welcomed the Re-Fresh girls for our first residential in the finished barn. They sailed out on Derwentwater in a Viking boat and were treated to an evening of beautiful singing with Aoise Haran. It was great to see the girls relax into the space.
Different models for Flynne’s Barn visits are evolving. In February this year we hosted a Friendship Support Bubble visit. Fourteen teenagers came in the driving Borrowdale rain with five accompanying adults… and it was wet, wet, wet! This didn’t deter the adventurous crew who got soaked planting trees, building dry stone walls, canoeing and bush crafting. We were reassured to discover that the barn could cope at full capacity in the wettest weather. Thank you to St James’s Place and Harry Peace for generously funding the residential.
Recently we had a young man to stay in the annex of the barn for a few days. He really valued the peace and tranquility of the valley and a chance to recharge. We look forward to Tom’s return and collaborating going forward.
It’s important to note that whilst the world is opening up again, for our community there are still huge issues around meeting others safely and gathering in groups again. To that end we’ve developed a protocol for residentials at Flynne’s Barn so our visitors can join us with confidence.
In tandem with the barn build and networking with wider organisations, Robin has continued to develop our counselling service to support young people with cancer and their families.
We have two great youth counsellors on board with the project and take referrals from the treatment centres we’re linked into. Sessions currently take place via Zoom or telephone; and we hope one day that those using the service may wish to come together for a residential.
The work our counsellors do is invaluable and much needed to support young people not only with the stress of a cancer diagnosis but also with anxieties that have been compounded by the pandemic.
The project is fully funded for 2022 thanks to much appreciated grants from the E.C. Graham Trust and the National Lottery Community Fund.
In February 2022 we were delighted to host our trustees for a working weekend. As well as moving forward with our development plan it was important for Anne and Claire to spend time in the barn and to get a real sense of the place.
We would like to extend our thanks to our trustees – Anne Darlington, Richard McKerrow and Claire Wormsley – for all they do in supporting the growth of Flynne’s Barn.
During the last year, despite lockdowns and the stress of Covid, some of our dynamic volunteers have continued to support Flynne’s Barn in a variety of ways. Particular thanks go to Billy Bland who is a wise, constant and energetic presence at the farm. We are delighted that Billy has agreed to become a patron of the charity alongside Ellie Rowsell.
Behind the scenes Debs Toupayani and Marg Millington have contributed their creativity to the interior of the barn with patchwork covers and cushions, curtains and stunning crochet blankets to snuggle up with on a cold evening. Their magic touches have turned it into a homely and welcoming space. Thank you!
Miriam Enright has brought her skills to the outside areas with planting and advice on the landscaping. She’s a font of knowledge! Thank you!
Thanks also go to Pete Rados and the Electricity North West team of volunteers who started us off with a wildflower meadow last spring. The work will continue this year.
It was amazing to welcome Poppy Scheinman and George Copsey to Flynne’s Barn just before a photoshoot last summer. They did a great job making up all the beds and getting everything shipshape.
We’re delighted that Sophie Byrom has joined us as a volunteer. Sophie has been reviewing our website and counselling materials and it’s great to have her on board. Her insights are invaluable. Thank you Sophie.
Finally, we had the most fantastic group of young volunteers to stay recently who got to work tree planting, dry stone walling, clearing paths and even washed down the polytunnel after the winter. Such an incredible effort from everyone involved. Can’t wait for the growing season to begin!
Thank you to everyone!
Ways you can help us
We’re delighted to have local chef, David Jackson, working with Flynne’s Barn. Not only is David an amazing chef but he also gives of his time so generously and is great with young people. He’s the magic ingredient in the mix!
Our gratitude goes out to all our generous supporters. To those who donate on a regular basis, to those who have thought of imaginative ways to fundraise and to those who wear our T-shirts and spread the word. Check out our T-shirt designs in our online shop.
All donations and funds raised for Flynne’s Barn go directly to our services for young people and their families. All developments to the barn and the site are funded separately and privately. We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to Rich McKerrow who has supported us so generously and enabled us to take forward this project.
A special shoutout to Nathalie Ames, who started running 2 miles every day for 42 days in January. She then upped the ante and decided to go for 3 miles each day and occasionally dress up too. It seems Dennis the Menace was spotted around Winchester! Considering she had to tangle with erratic weather, namely Storms Eunice and Dudley, it’s an impressive commitment and Nat has raised over £1000 for Flynne’s Barn and Pilgrim’s Hospice in Thanet. Just amazing! Thank you. There’s still time to donate.
The Isherwood family held a Curry and Cocktails evening in December 2021. Many thanks to the chefs, musicians, all who donated generous auction prizes and to those who enjoyed the evening. £900 was raised – huge thanks to everyone.
This year we received a £2,500 donation from St James’s Place to fund the visit for Harry Peace and his support bubble. Harry also donated £400 to cover the costs of transport for the group. These generous donations ensured that the group had a fantastic visit and will also help towards future group visits. Many thanks to all involved.
At the end of November, we held Barnfest ‘21. It was a celebration of music, nature and finishing the barn. Sadly, due to the pandemic we had to keep it very small but those who came braved the cold and planted around 500 trees. Storm Arwen was raging that weekend but miraculously the bright winter sun came out for the tree planting in between rain and snow.
We were treated to wonderful music from Burnt Horse, Aoise Haran, Coral Haran, Rachel Isherwood and Kathy Walton in the evening. The acoustics in the barn are great! Thank you to the tree planters, soup makers, music makers and to David Jackson for an amazing spread. It was a wonderful evening, especially to see the barn full of friends and music. Special thanks to Kathy for bringing a lovingly curated collection of music for Flynne’s Barn. It will be treasured and enjoyed for years to come.
Music for Flynne Fundraiser
We’re delighted that Kathy Walton and Meitheal Cheoil’s much-delayed fundraiser is taking place on 18th March 2022 in North London. The St Patrick’s Troupe always put on a real show and it’s sure to be a wonderful evening. We’re so grateful for the money they have raised over the years.
Now the barn is finished and up and running we’ll continue to develop the outside environment. This winter we have planted another 500 trees and will continue to work on the wildflower meadow. In the coming months we’re hoping to construct a sheltered firepit area and pizza oven so our groups can enjoy the outdoors in all weather.
It was great to welcome Dan Moreton back here last summer to take some footage of the finished barn. Dan has skilfully put our promo film together and we’re delighted with the results. The weather was on our side and Dan got some stunning footage of the valley. Huge thanks to Dan and Love Productions. If you haven’t seen it yet take a look on our home page as the film captures the essence of what Flynne’s Barn is all about.
We are committed to continuing to develop the services and reach of Flynne’s Barn, so that:
- Young people living with cancer and their families can come together to find friendship and support with others through shared experiences.
- We will keep making links with organisations working in the field and to broaden our network. As well as Teenage Cancer Trust and CancerCare we look forward to working with Trekstock, Young Lives vs Cancer and Shine in the coming months.
- As we begin to welcome more groups to Flynne’s Barn we’ll be assessing our impact through redesigning the online survey and evaluation programme that we initiated before Covid with Rebecca Horn, and improving the ways we gather feedback from our visitors.
As ever our heartfelt gratitude goes out to all of you who support Flynne’s Barn in so many wonderful and individual ways.
Looking forward to brighter and busier times at Flynne’s Barn.
Sending love to you all,
Katherine and Robin xx