19th September 2017
Every year the charity opens its farms to thousands of children to experience life away from the city in the heart of the countryside. We sat down with the Farms for City Children team to learn a little more about what they do and even got a look into a typical day on the farm.
Each year, Farms for City Children offers over 3,200 urban primary school children from all over the country a unique opportunity to live and work together for a week, on one of our three real farms, in the heart of the countryside. It is an intense, ‘learning through doing’ experience of a different life – for children who may not know where their food comes from and have limited opportunities to explore the outside world.
Our three farms are Nethercott House in Iddesleigh, Devon, Wick Court in Arlingham, Gloucestershire and Lower Treginnis in St David’s, Pembrokeshire. Our founding farm is Nethercott House in Devon, where the author Michael Morpurgo, and his wife Clare, started the charity over 41 years ago!
Joules has kindly been supporting us with 5% of the profits from an item of child’s clothing each season, as well as taking part in various fundraising activities like abseiling off the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth! The financial gifts have made it possible for us to subsidise a whole school’s visit in the last year – that’s 36 children who had a week of muck and magic and made memories that will last a lifetime, all thanks to wonderful Joules customers and staff!
There is absolutely no comparison to other school trips. I cannot think of a more enriching experience for children of this age.
Caroline Wright, a teacher from Prior Weston Primary School, Islington
This week will be a huge help to Farms for City Children as it will increase awareness of our work, as well as helping to raise further vital funds to get more children out of the city, finding out where their food comes from and building key skills.
A child in my current class really struggles with new learning at school but soon realised that he was stronger than most children in his group. The boost to his self-esteem from becoming the ‘expert wheel-barrow driver’ was enormous and his talent meant he had a meaningful role within the team as he coached others to improve.
Kirsty Jeffries, a teacher from Leigham Primary School, Plymouth
7:00am – Time to get up, showered and ready for the day! We’re all staying in dorms in the farmhouse with our friends. We get points for tidy dorms, so we try our best to keep it tidy each morning!
7:30am – We have three different groups that the children are split into, and today it’s my turn to do the poultry, which involves collecting the eggs and feeding the chickens!
9:00am – I’m starving and it’s time for breakfast! It’s yummy homemade porridge today – each day it changes but it’s always a delicious home cooked breakfast to fill me up ready for the day ahead.
10:00am – This morning’s task is gardening, so we’re out planting and picking the fruit and vegetables ready to go into the kitchen and our dinner.
11:30am – It’s time to head inside and have a drink and a snack. It’s good to see my other classmates and hear what they’ve been up to in their groups with the horses and donkeys.
12:00pm – Our teachers join us and we spend an hour writing postcards home to share what we’ve been up to and what new things we’ve tried. Mum won’t believe how many vegetables I’ve eaten this week!
1:00pm – Lunchtime! Time to enjoy a delicious shepherd’s pie for lunch with my friends. We all sit around the table and pass each other the food!
2:15pm – We’re back out in the farmyard this afternoon. There’s lots of wood to collect, so we form a long line and pass it down to each other. It made me realise how much quicker it is to do the job together.
3:30pm – All the logs are stored safely in the barn so we head inside to do some cooking. It’s great fun to cook for everyone – we are making jam tarts and pizzas!
6:00pm – After tea we’re off out for our last task of the day – the dairy cows! We head off to watch the milking of the cows down the lane. After seeing the cows being milked, we head next door to bottle-feed the calves.
7:00pm – We’re done for the day so it’s time to head in to the farmhouse for a delicious hot chocolate and story time. Tomorrow I’m heading out to see the sheep first, so I better get some rest for now!
Would you like to offer your support to our fantastic charities? Visit our Virgin Money Giving page or head into store to see what’s going on. Keep up to date with our efforts by using #JoulesCharityWeek