The Houghton Project (a Herefordshire farm where people with additional needs learn rural skills) won first prize in the sweet cider category and second in the sweet perry category at this year’s International Cider and Perry Awards. From hundreds of entries The Houghton Project beat off strong competition from makers all over the world. 

The Houghton Project is a not-for-profit organisation providing opportunities for people with learning difficulties, mental health issues and those facing life challenges. It was established in 2002 to teach rural skills and also facilitate new friendships, build confidence and improve mental and physical wellbeing. Tim James-Moore who set up this inspired community education project comments: 

“Society places expectations on people based on narrow perceptions of their disabilities and abilities. We want to highlight that with the right kind of support there is so much more that can be achieved. Our main aim is to provide meaningful activity and encourage engagement. The wonderful thing about cider and perry production is that it allows everyone to be involved and have a role. With tasks ranging from picking and mashing the fruit, through to making and bottling the cider and perry, it’s very inclusive. Many of the people we work with have been marginalised and running projects like the cider and perry production gives a tangible objective with a beginning, middle and an end. Everyone should have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and strengths and then to see where those opportunities might take them.”

James Hewitt, who has been attending the Houghton Project for 3 years, was the lead on the cider and perry production. James who has cerebral palsy and has had a pacemaker fitted explains: “The project and winning the prizes has played a massive part in overcoming the difficulties I faced and have given me the self-confidence to help others.”   

Now, The Houghton Project would like to find outlets for their award winning cider and perry. “We’re looking for distribution in the right environment where our very special drinks will be appreciated,” explains founder Tim James-Moore. 

Related Posts