Libby Elliot, 59, has been supporting mental health and social inclusion charity Lucky Ewe, based in North East Fife, throughout the pandemic, with everything from weeding and feeding, to lambing.
The charity rents land at a smallholding near New Gilston for its small flock of dairy sheep with additional grazing at Cuparmuir and Springfield. Lucky Ewe aims to give people with additional support needs of any kind the chance to experience farming, animal husbandry and food production at a pre-entry level.The charity welcomes people of all abilities and backgrounds: our placements aim to build skills and experience at Lucky Ewe to help them progress towards employment.
Having scooped a £2.2 million Lotto jackpot in 2012, Libby has devoted much of her time to giving back to good causes, including children’s hospices and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Now a trustee of the Lucky Ewe charity, Libby helps give people who need additional support the chance to experience farming with placements aimed at building skills and experience in animal husbandry and food production, to help open up employment opportunities.
Celebrating her ninth ‘Lottoversary’ last month, Libby said: “I’m privileged enough to be retired and so I’m always looking for quality ways to spend my time. The pandemic only heightened this and living in the Fife countryside, I was interested in exploring the area and meeting new people - although I never thought I’d end up being a shepherdess!
“Lucky Ewe only gained its SCIO registration in March 2020 but in the last 18 months it’s gone from strength to strength - gaining funding, attracting volunteers and beginning its work with beneficiaries.
“While I don’t have any previous experience in farming, I am a real animal lover and enjoy being outdoors. Working with Lucky Ewe seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to combine these two passions and give back. Being outside and among animals are great ways to boost our mental health and to bring a sense of peace and purpose. It’s definitely done just that for me.”
Lucky Ewe depends on its volunteers - people who generally want to spend time outside, work on the land and help others build up their confidence and skills. Volunteers usually offer 2-3 hours of their valuable time per week, with Trustees asked to contribute four hours each month.
The Scottish charity also actively seeks grants to help it expand the number of people it can involve and support and has previously secured £9,656 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.
Joan Brown, chairman of Lucky Ewe, said: “Lucky Ewe offers a path to a new job, volunteering opportunities and beneficial placements for those in need. We welcome people of all abilities and backgrounds to take on these placements, aimed to build up experience, helping interns progress towards employment – but with this, we need willing volunteers to help support these placements.
“Libby has been a fantastic addition to the team. She’s always willing to take on a new challenge. Libby’s experience in community development, her ability to network and her practical advice and guidance have been invaluable in driving forward the work of Lucky Ewe.”