Our supporter update
A LOOK BACK AT ACADEMIC YEAR 2021-21
With the start of a new academic year, we are feeling hopeful that this year will be far more ‘normal’ than the last two. With all four farms bustling with visits throughout the summer, and fully booked until Christmas, there has been plenty of joy across our sites and much to celebrate.
Despite the continued disruptions and challenges of the last academic year (2020-21), we still worked with over 1,120 children, young people and families, through both our day visit and residential programmes. Our focus remained on the most vulnerable groups, with 38% of the young people we supported receiving Free School Meals, 36% having Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and 23% being Looked After Children. The impact of the visits were as great as ever; of those young people referred with low self-esteem, 59% had significantly improved mental wellbeing at the end of their visit (Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale). Furthermore, of the 178 staff that visited, 89% said the visit would improve their practice. We feel incredibly proud of what we have achieved, especially as some other outdoor centres remained closed for much of the last eighteen months.
THE ACADEMIC YEAR AHEAD
The autumn term has begun with a flurry of new partnerships across our sites, including several who are visiting as part of the Outdoor Weeks of Learning Collaboration, funded by the Ernest Cook Trust. This project aims to give more children and young people, who have suffered trauma during lockdown, the chance to experience a week in nature. This partnership has also enabled us to make connections with new schools across the country, including Unity Academy Blackpool and All Saints Academy in Dorset. We are also pleased to be developing a programme specifically to support Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children (UASC). This will be a very important piece of work both to improve our practice in this field and the impact on displaced groups of children who will visit. For an insight into our work with UASC, please read this short blog following a recent visit from BigLeaf (an organisation working with displaced young people in Surrey) last month.
The major issue emerging for schools and other educational and care providers, however, remains to be children and young people’s mental health. With one in five children and 40% of teenage girls reporting that they are unhappy with their mental health in the latest report by the Children’s Commissioner (1), and evidence that school exclusions may see a peak this year (2), the need for our therapeutic programme is greater than ever.
May 17th - the return of full residential trips
We are so pleased to report that we are allowed to return to full residential visits from May 17th. Whilst we have stayed open and been busy with day visits, the new rules mean we can host our full residential programme again. We are excited to be back doing what we do best- helping young people re-engage with life through farming, family and therapy. We'd love your support.