This month we very tentatively reopened our doors under the very strict guidance from the local authority, although we were so excited to have our students back on the farm we were obviously anxious to get all the safety measures correct.
Due to the nature of the farm being outdoor-based, with hand washing already a key part of learning and working on the farm, we were able to open without too much change to the daily plan. All sessions were 1:1 and we had some good times getting plenty of jobs done, enjoying being outside again and catching up.
This month we welcomed our first student and it has been great to put all the planning into practice.
We have enjoyed getting to know each other, the farm and the animals. We have also spent lots of time doing groundwork jobs developing the different areas of the paddock – the garden, allotment and animal areas.
The story started in April 2017 when I began volunteering at Oak Tree House Farm learning everything I could about farming from Jane and David Ingham who own and run the farm.
I wanted to immerse myself in the world of farming because I knew that the idea I had needed me to have as much knowledge as a possible to be a success.
When I joined them on the farm I was thrown in at the deep end in a really great way. I learnt to drive their JCB, taught how to administer medications, shepherded and sheared sheep, helped ot deliver lambs, bedded down the calves and cleared up the mess – no job was too mucky for me!
After discussing my idea of an alternative provision with David and Jane they absolutely loved it. So much so that they offered a paddock on the farm to start the project which blew me away!
I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and immediately applying for planning permission.
My focus was to offer meaningful work based activities to children and young adults with learning difficulties in an outdoor environment.
The benefits of simply being outdoors are well documented, as are the benefits of being near to and caring for animals.