10 young people spent a week at this residential farm centre near Box, Wiltshire during August. This included two older participants in the role of peer mentors, helping to set the tone and enable everyone to join in activities.
All young people involved have significant needs, arising from family breakdown, mental health issues, behavioural difficulties or risk of school exclusion.
The total cost of the full-board project including all Jamie’s Farm staff and 3 Mentoring Plus staff was £6,000. We are very grateful for the support of our funders, the Bath Half Marathon Fund, Somerset Crimebeat and The Hedley Foundation, in enabling this highly valued residential to happen.
The visitors were kept constantly busy from a 7.30am wake up til bedtime around 10pm, with nourishing meals and no access to sweets, fizzy drinks, electronic devices or cigarettes, and most agreed they could feel the benefits.
Supervised activities included preparing, serving and clearing up meals made with local produce, animal herding, feeding and cleaning out, log splitting, horse whispering, hikes, river swimming, indoor games and sports. The group were supported in regular ‘check-ins’ where feelings and observations could be shared, including around the camp fire.
Staff were struck by the inclusiveness of the group and the personal qualities the young people were enabled to show during their experience.
“What struck me was the group’s ability to identify problems and work in a compassionate manner to overcome them. None of the young people want to see another going through a hard time or risk being kicked off the project.” said one adult practitioner. Another commented: “The celebration evening on Thursday was a triumph for the young people. It’s amazing how much feeling and emotion they can bestow upon each other.”
Some feedback from the young people involved, all of whom were referred to the charity with a range of difficult challenges at home, in education or with mental health:
“It’s been really fun on the Farm and, like, whenever I am at home and I wake up, I am like ‘oh, another day, what am I doing’ and I go downstairs. But here, it’s really like ‘ok, what are we doing now? Let’s go feed the animals!’ I am now more outdoorsy, I have been playing basketball for the last 4 days and it’s made me really active.”
“Everything’s been great; the log chopping and feeding the animals, it’s been amazing. I have particularly enjoyed participating in breakfast and having to make dinner, log chopping, feeding the animals. I’ve learned that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”
“The best bit was working with everyone and learning everyone’s talents and what they bring to the Farm. It’s been good fun. I have learned that I can get up early and I don’t have to stay in bed in the morning; I do actually need to get up as there are things to do. It’s been a really good week.”
“I really just enjoy being on the Farm. After this I will show my leadership skills more and I should step up more, not just be quiet about everything.”