Over the last two years WCI has supported the Education Manager’s programme of work at Jamie’s Farm, a charity transforming the lives of vulnerable inner-city children on the verge of exclusion. The charity provides a comprehensive residential programme of farming, family and therapy at two working farms located in rural Wiltshire and Hereford.
The objective is to provide every child with a positive life-changing experience by tackling real and meaningful farm jobs, all very much outside their urban comfort zone. A typical week-stay group at Jamie’s Farm is made up of 10-12 young people – usually the group’s first visit to a working farm and often a first time away from home. Each group meets in the evening to eat together, talk about their working day and plan the farming tasks ahead. Groups are actively encouraged to ‘digitally detox’ from phones, iPads and social media.
A few years ago, Jamie’s identified the benefit of providing previous participants with an opportunity to build on their unique countryside experience closer to home and school. Modestly claiming to be the ‘closest farm to Parliament’ and probably the nearest flock of sheep to London Bridge, Oasis Farm Waterloo is transforming a strip of city wasteland into a flourishing community resource and a haven for nature. Since its launch in 2015 the farm has formed partnerships with local academies and community colleges, receiving visits from over 20 London schools and assisting 284 children during our period of support.