The Farm helping young people face their fears and thrive in their communities
Pupils (from left to right): Kelvin, Cayden (kneeling down) and Dylan at Whirlow Hall Farm Trust
This National Gardening Week, we explore how outdoor spaces, like the Whirlow Hall Farm Trust, supported by The National Lottery, are helping nurture young people struggling with complex difficulties.
Like most kids his age, 12-year-old Cayden spends a good deal of time on his phone. But when the pupil from The Kenwood Centre, a part of Sheffield’s Becton School tailored for pupils with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and High Anxiety, got the chance to feed and hold a lamb for the first time, he forgot all about social media.
During a visit to Whirlow Hall Farm Trust, a very special 140-acre working farm supported with National Lottery funding, Cayden said, “I really enjoy being here. We get to do more things, see more animals and being there keeps me off my phone for the day too!”
Joining Cayden on the visit were Kelvin, 12, and Dylan, 11, who are also pupils at The Kenwood Centre. Cayden said, “It was fun holding the lambs and I’d like to do more on the farm". Asked to sum up his impressions of Whirlow Hall Farm Trust, he said, "It’s eventful, a bit crazy and exciting".
Pupils from Becton School are regular visitors to Whirlow Hall Farm Trust which is located on the outskirts of Sheffield. It is tailored for young people struggling with mainstream education or facing a complex set of difficulties including medical and mental health conditions, learning needs and disabilities and heart-breaking personal circumstances. At Whirlow Hall Farm Trust they find a safe, nurturing place that helps boost their confidence, self-esteem and resilience.
John Gray, Whirlow Hall Farm Trust’s Head of Education and Development, said, “Just being up here is a huge step for a lot of these children. Due to the pandemic some of them have not left their homes in months and find it hard to be outdoors.
“Sometimes, they’re scared of the bigger animals at first so we start them off with a rabbit, a guinea pig or one of our therapy dogs. We’ll talk to them about their fears and let them stand behind a barrier. They’ll see other kids getting stuck in and think ‘maybe I can do that’. It’s a huge sense of achievement when they do.”
Thanks to National Lottery players, over £30 million is raised for Good Causes every week, funding projects like Whirlow Hall Farm Trust and helping communities come together across the UK.
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