Monday 21 January 2019 - Written by Rachel Morrell

On Thursday 13th December we and the sound engineer, cameraman, researcher and director for BBC Countryfile arrived at the quiet, dark and rather chilly Care Farm site. At 7.30am the birds were just starting to wake as the team excitedly prepared for the first part of a packed day of filming, interviews, games and animals. The BBC crew departed past Mallard Lake as the rising sun was sending its rays across the water. They joined Simon Tucker (British Trust for Ornithology volunteer bird ringer) as he was setting up his nets for a morning of bird ringing. Our student Dan joined him at 8.30am along with Matt Baker and both were delighted to learn about our local bird life. Dan was happy to speak to Matt about his experience of Lakeside Care Farm and his journey within our community.

When the crew, staff and students returned to the Farm, the quiet dark morning seemed a distant memory and they joined our young Primary-aged Forest School group from Chesterton Primary School for the delightfully chaotic task of moving our Kune Kune pigs and measuring their tummies for weight gain. The children and animals played their part well and were pleased to enjoy themselves while their TA was interviewed by Matt Baker.
After a quick cup of tea, the Countryfile team joined another student as he worked on his vegetable patch and displayed his skills with a saw on Newt Island. Not only highly skilled with a wheelbarrow and saw, but Aiden also spoke clearly and confidently to the BBC about his journey to and experiences of the Care Farm.

Meanwhile, an excited but nervous Care Farm Supervisor tried valiantly to eat her lunch but knowing it was nearly time for an interview with Matt Baker, it was a little hard to swallow… she also regretted the inclusion of raw onion in her pasta salad (poor Matt!). The time came and the complex task of walking and talking was made far less daunting by the professionalism and charm of Matt. Interview accomplished, the crew’s stomachs began to rumble and the call of lunch drew everyone back inside.

Once suitably fed and rested, the film crew joined Poppy as she played fetch with therapy dog, Tilly, before visiting our woolly neighbours, the Herdwick sheep. The film crew returned to the farm to find Ollie using an axe to sharpen his stake next to the tranquil Mallard Lake. They filmed this moment of peace before interviewing Dan’s mum by the lake. With daylight not on our side, Anita Rani joined Matt with the pigs for a quick chat before Matt had a cuddle with the ever-chilled rabbit, Bobby.

As the sun began to set, the crew set up lighting in the animal shed for Matt to have a final chat with Dan and staff member Rachel D. Guinea pig Sammy got some food and attention as the benefits of animal therapy were discussed including how rescuing animals rather than buying them supports the ethos of the Care Farm. It was soon 5 pm and time to pack up, the site being dark and quiet once more. A long day, yes, but staff and students were delighted to share our humble Care Farm with the friendly crew and were delighted to receive all their praise and good wishes for the work we do.