Posted 2 April 2009
People are invited to discuss the future of care farming in Wales at a special meeting later this month.
Care farming is not a new concept in certain countries in mainland Europe and for some years, farmers in countries such as the Netherlands, Norway and Italy have taken progressive steps combining farming with care of people who have a disability or are socially disadvantaged.
There are also care farms, large and small, in the UK, which have been in running for many years, but with little recognition.
National Care Farming Initiative (NCFI) coordinator Debbie Wilcox, who is based at Harper Adams University College, Shropshire, says: “Care farming develops best as a partnership and in parts of the UK local and regional groups have been coming together to promote and develop care farming in their area, raise awareness and encourage the development of more care farms.
“We would really like such a group to promote and support the development of care farming in Wales and we’d like to initiate it with the support of a range of organisations, businesses and individuals.
“We are convinced that care farming is self-evidently a very good idea, but we realise that to make it work in Wales we need to take a strategic approach to building the evidence base and developing a group in a way that will be most useful to farmers, practitioners and policymakers.”
Anyone interested is invited to attend an informal meeting and networking event at 11am on Tuesday April 28, at the Amelia Trust, a care farm near Barry, Glamorgan.
Debbie adds: “You will be able to hear more about care farming, what it is and how it works and have the opportunity to talk to others and be at the beginning of something really exciting for Wales. You will also get the chance to look round the Amelia Trust and see how a care farm works. The meeting is free to attend and lunch will be provided but booking is essential.”
To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Debbie Wilcox on 01952 815335.
Care farming is an embryonic, but growing movement in the UK and there is currently no one standard model or programme. The farms work with a wide range of clients in a variety of ways. Individuals and groups worked with include young people with autism, young offenders, those recovering from addictions and people with mental health problems, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.
The farms provide anything from therapeutic learning environments to qualifications that can lead on to employment.
For more general information about care farming and who it can help see www.ncfi.org.uk