As FOLK2FOLK’s charity partner, we asked Farms for City Children to tell you a little about who they are and what they do in their own words…
Farms for City Children is a charity that provides disadvantaged children from cities and towns all over England and Wales the unique opportunity to live and work together for a week on a real farm in the heart of the countryside. For these children, a week of muck and magic at one of our farms is a ‘learning through doing’ experience of a different life.
Whilst the world we live in has changed markedly since the charity was founded by children’s author Sir Michael and his wife Lady Morpurgo in 1976, the lives of children growing up in disadvantaged urban communities remain dominated by the frenetic hustle and bustle of a busy city. These bright little minds cannot begin to imagine the wonders of the British countryside.
Today, the charity has three working farms: Nethercott House, a traditional mixed dairy, beef and sheep farm at Iddesleigh in the heart of Devon; Wick Court, a Tudor manor house and livestock farm on the River Severn with protected ancient perry orchards and a speciality in bee-keeping; and Lower Treginnis, a 700 year old Welsh sheep farm nestled on the westernmost tip of the Pembrokeshire coast.
Each farm welcomes up to 39 urban school children and their teachers every week of the school year – that’s some 3,000 children every year experiencing a week-long stay, a world away from their everyday lives. The children work in groups to care for the crops and livestock – feeding sheep, weighing piglets, collecting eggs, and harvesting fresh produce and learning to cook wholesome meals.
The experience stretches them physically, emotionally and intellectually in ways not possible in the classroom, building their confidence and nurturing a real sense of purpose and achievement. But don’t just take our word for it – here’s what a visiting teacher had to say after he brought his class to Nethercott for a week.
“For inner city children like ours, many of whom have never been on holiday, arriving at Nethercott is as other-worldly as taking them to the Sahara. There is almost nothing within their realm of experience, even though it is barely 45 miles away. The value of this experience cannot be calculated in pounds. It is truly eye-opening and attitude changing.” Andy Hodges – Mountwise Primary School, Plymouth
We know that the children we welcome each week could never afford the true cost of this fully immersive farm stay. That’s why we subsidise each and every child place by at least £300. If you feel you could join us in subsidising a child place this year, and joining Folk2Folk and many others who are turning inner city children in to farmers for a week, we’d love to hear from you. Please visit our website www.farmsforcitychildren.org
Vanessa Fox, Chief Executive
Farms for City Children