Help us create a new care farm in Wiltshire

Following on from the success of Lakeside Care Farm, we need your help to expand with a second care farm, called The Willows Care Farm. 

For over 15 years we have been successfully engaging with children and young people with special needs and with adults facing mental ill-health and other challenges. Our varied nature-based programmes have included education and work-based opportunities involving nature conservation, farming, horticulture and Forest School activities. 

What are care farms?

Care farms provide a supervised, structured programme of farming-related activities. There are now around 180 care farms across the UK, each showing how contact with nature has a powerful role to play in helping those with learning disabilities, mental ill-health, Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), and social and communication difficulties.  

Each care farm varies in how they meet local needs and can offer individual and group interactions over the course of days, weeks, months or even years, providing or promoting healing, mental health, social, or educational care services. They provide opportunities for social interaction, skills-building and purposeful work. 

How do we know it works?

During 2018-19, Lakeside Care Farm worked with over 90 children, young people and adults in nature-based therapeutic activities. Of these, 11 were students we helped to transition back into mainstream or special education. The positive impact and credibility of the Trust’s nature-based interventions with children and young people with additional needs have been evaluated by external bodies. Plymouth University’s three-year study of a primary school Forest School group concluded, “The children increased in their physical and social wellbeing, confidence for learning and connection to the rest of nature.”

She does things here she won’t do at school. It is because there is no time limit nor a wrong way of doing it.

- Student Support Worker

Lakeside Care Farm is a special place where children and young people with additional needs can thrive. The calm environment and range of holistic learning opportunities available are impressive. The skilful and intuitive staff forge positive working relationships quickly with youngsters and parents/carers alike, so that sessions are impactful as possible from an early stage. The demand for this type of bespoke provision continues to grow year on year. An expanded service in the centre of Wiltshire would undoubtedly enable more children and young people with additional needs to benefit from provision that is meaningful to them, delivered within their locality.

This new care farm would allow us to reach out and make a difference to more of Wiltshire's vulnerable children, through the use of horticultural therapy, animal therapy and Forest Schools. 

Our plans for the money include:

  • Renovating the old stable block to include disabled toilets (£8,000), heating (£1,500) and a kitchen area (£4,250) as well as improved drainage.
  • Purchasing tools for use on the care farm (£500)
  • Building a tool store (£4,000)
  • Animal housing (£1,750)
  • Gates and fencing for security (£2,000)
  • Access works including entrance access and a car park

Please donate to help us create a new care farm in Wiltshire.