A couple who moved from Crowborough last Christmas will feature in a Channel 5 programme later this month.
In ‘A Country Life for Half the Price’ Kate Humble follows brave families making life changing moves.
Kat and Louis Falconer, who lived on Windsor Road, were driven by family tragedy and a desire to achieve a better work-life balance. Working as dental hygienist and reflexologist meant they saw little of each other. Louis was also a wedding registrar at Crowborough Register Office.
As Kat explained, they decided it was time for a completely fresh start in the country:
The whole idea for a lifestyle change was bought about by difficult circumstances and tough life events. Tragically my sister Verity committed suicide in 2015, my mum and nan both died in 2016 and I had been through 15 months of grief. I was physically and mentally exhausted.
One day in 2017 my husband had recorded an episode of “The Farmers’ Country Showdown” for me to watch as he knew it was my sort of programme and might cheer me up a bit. I had a “that’s it!” moment. The programme was about alpacas and I was instantly drawn to them. I had an idea pop into my head that I could open a smallholding with alpacas, and create a safe space for people who were suffering mental health illness. The benefits of looking after animals and growing produce is well know to have healing effects. I spoke to my husband expecting him to try and talk me out of such a huge life change, but he thought it was an amazing idea!
Having something so positive to work towards helped to start my healing process and gave both of us a sense of purpose. I would love to think that my sisters death was not in vain if I can do something to help others going through tough times.Kat Falconer
Keen to kickstart their ambitious plans, they sold their 2-bed house in Crowborough and moved into a rental property, while they tried to secure their dream home.
With Louis’ parents Mark and Sue also making the move from Burgess Hill, the two generations of family, pooled their financial resources and found a stunning 18th Century former mill house, set within 3 acres of idyllic Norfolk countryside.
The programme shows how they are looking to step away from their old careers and have some ambitious plans to set up an Alpaca Care Farm and start hosting events and weddings, while finally spending some quality time together. However the family face legal hold ups, and with bills to pay they have to take stock of their position.
Kat explains that the care farm is still a long way off, but we have already made lifestyle changes:
Our plans for the care farm are still a few years off as sadly the necessity to earn a living is taking up much of our time at the moment but the alpacas are part of our business. We are currently running craft courses such as making felt animals and we have a spinning class coming up so people can learn how to make their fleece into balls of wool.
We also offer alpaca afternoon tea’s where people can meet and spend time with the alpacas and then enjoy a cream tea.
We now have the land and animals ready for the care farm though so hopefully that will evolve in the next few years.
For more further information see their Facebook page: Events at Mill House.
With five new alpacas to care for, buildings to restore and new business ventures to launch, it’s going to be a huge learning curve and some serious hard work for them all.
The programme will be first shown at 8pm on Tuesday 17th August on Channel 5, or you can watch later on My5.