'It's heartbreaking': Farm for adults with special needs to close after 111 years

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Tony Green

Princess Christian's Farm was established by Queen Victoria's daughter and dedicated to people with learning difficulties. 

It's been run by the Hadlow College group, but when the group was saved from financial collapse cuts were deemed necessary. 

Students like Hannah Bailey were told courses are coming to an end.   

  • Hannah Bailey, Student

Hannah says: "North Kent College took over Hadlow College and then I got a letter and they are going to shut down. I was bit grumpy a bit angry, a bit upsetting. It's heartbreaking as well".

Liz Bailey, Hannah's mother says: "If the farm wasn't there I don't know what we would do with Hannah".

"On the days she attends its one of the main reasons she gets out of bed in the mornings. Otherwise she would spend all day in bed. It's not just the farm it's the students its the animals it's the staff".

The letter Hannah received informing her the farm was to close. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Hadlow was rescued by North Kent College Group who say it's become necessary to focus on the provision of education and not adult social care.

Tom Tugenhadt the MP for Tonbridge & Malling, says: "I am very concerned at the way that this has been handled and that's why I have been speaking to the leader of Kent County Councilm, Roger Gough, about it".

"We need to make sure that the people who use this farm are looked after".

  • Tom Tugenhadt the MP for Tonbridge & Malling

In a statement Kent County Council said: "Since Hadlow College experienced financial and operational difficulties, difficult decisions have had to be made and one of those has been to end the contract to run the farm".

"The people who use the farm remain their priority so all options are under consideration".

Originally the farm was run by Hadlow College. Unless another operator can be found, this 115 acre farm is destined to close.

Leaving some of most vulnerable students facing upheaval and an uncertain future