A farmyard-based employment service which offers work to adults with learning disabilities across Buckinghamshire could be scrapped as the county council continues to slash social care budgets.

Thrift Farm is a Bucks County Council (BCC) owned farm in north Bucks which has provided rural supported employment for dozens of adults with learning disabilities over the past 30 years.

However, this morning BCC announced plans to scrap the service in a bid to slash £124,000 from the adult social care budget.

In a report due to be presented to cabinet next Monday (February 4), the council says “significant work” undertaken to find another provider to deliver the service has been unsuccessful.

If plans are given the green light, 69 service users who are currently employed at the farm will lose their jobs – however BCC says assessments will be carried out to identify alternative placements.

The farm is the latest BCC service that could suffer amid major budget cuts, as BCC works to slash a total of £2.47 million from adult social care funds.

BCC has spent the past six months consulting on an overhaul of its short break service offered to adults and children with disabilities – which has caused “widespread” amongst carers and service users.

And earlier this month councillors voted to consult on plans to close Seeleys House short breaks centre in Beaconsfield and move the service to Aylesbury.

BCC says the current short break service is “unsustainable” and admitted it is difficult to manage demand for overnight stays in the face of limited funds.

The council says the location of Thrift Farm means it is difficult for service users living in the south of the county to travel there.

The farm’s £432,000 budget was overspent by £304,000 in 2017/18 despite “considerable investment” in catering facilities in 2013 to 2016 in a bid to increase income.

The council report states: “Commissioners have explored and been unsuccessful in identifying an alternative organisation to sustainably run Thrift Farm.

“Given the out-dated care model and the significant investment needed, together with the savings required for the service, commissioners are of the view that the only viable option is to decommission adult social care services at Thrift Farm.

“If Thrift Farm is decommissioned, Buckinghamshire service users will receive a comprehensive assessment of their needs and suitable alternative placements will be identified as part of a new care package.”

The report will be discussed by BCC's cabinet on Monday, where members will discuss holding a six week consultation on the future of the farm.

BCC says Milton Keynes Council has regularly been updated on plans, as currently 19 of the service users employed from the farm come from the area.