Wednesday November 30th…
What a pleasure it was to visit Future Roots Farm, Holnest near Sherborne with my 13 year old son William.
The farm helps young people, adults and families each week by providing stability and direction at times when people need it the most….through farm life and work in the beautiful Dorset Countryside. It also, every Wednesday afternoon, holds The Countrymen’s Club! This club is open to men over 25 with limiting long term conditions, dementia or depression. It provides a range of activities, outdoors, and is especially for men who wish to remain active and involved in the things that they love, whatever the challenges they might be facing as a result of ageing or of poor health.
When we arrived, William and I had a grand tour around the farm and animals from Julie [who started and runs Future Roots]. We met and chatted to several of the youngsters who were so enthusiastic about their time spent at the farm, eager to tell us what they had been doing that day, which animals were their favourite…and what each was called! YES, each animal whether a cow, a sheep or a donkey has its own name…many of which are celebrity names and apparently there are definite comparisons to be made in terms of temperament.
The youngsters were laughing and smiling; easy to chat to. Having worked in fostering for children’s social care for 11 years and seeing how challenging life can be for many youngsters and their families, it was wonderful to see them all just absorbing life to the full and being so obviously relaxed and happy. This is what education needs to be about…not OFSTED, numbers, exam results and a feeling of failing that so many pupils struggle with.
Every child should be made to feel that they have a place and role in society; they should be able to express their preferences, needs and wants…especially when the usual “normal” system of education is just not working for them.
At lunchtime, William and I joined the Countrymen’s Club for their 2 course hot lunch before they started on their activities in the woodwork shed…all home cooked…a warming start to a cold afternoon. There was plenty of fun at the table and conversation flowed. William actually would like to volunteer with this group…so maybe after the New Year we can arrange for him to do so at odd times.
Of course, as well as supporting the menfolk and ensuring their retirement is as fulfilling as possible, Julie is supporting the wives/partners and families too by allowing them a few hours for themselves; It means that they are not just being carers 24 hours a day. This is so important and, as @Dorsetdialect will tell you…a career is only any good if they too remain healthy in body and mind.
During the tour William and I chatted to Julie at length about what the farm needs in terms of support. I feel privileged to be a Sherborne Castles Rotarian and was very pleased in the summer to present the farm with a cheque from the Community Fund we run. However, the financial needs of the farm are ongoing…here are some of the things that I picked up and PLEASE help her out if you can…the website is at the end of the blog!
- SOCKS, SOCKS and MORE SOCKS…always needed for wellies as the youngsters tend to take them home…sizes 2 adult up to as large as you can get! Does anyone know of a company that would provide a box load initially?
- VET BILLS…which are constant…and never free of charge. Is there a business out there that would sponsor the farm for a year and so take on the vet bills?
- SENSORY GARDEN…vital for the youngsters as this is somewhere that they can go and “chill”, reflect etc. There are 2 Yurts in this area…one that the youngsters can sit around a fire in and have indoor lessons if the weather is bad, and one that is for 1:1 counselling when needed.
The whole area is being redesigned and redone as the ducks have churned most of it up and made a real mess!!!
So is there anyone out there that can help with materials and/or sensory equipment?
The children themselves have been busy making chicken runs and other pens…but now the garden just needs that extra input to make it wonderful.
- WAITROSE…how impressed am I and so would Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall and Jamie Oliver! NO food waste here as near date/out of date/broken packing etc…all food going to Future Roots for the animals! Well done Sherborne Waitrose!
- DOG TREATS that are gluten free…the children have been making these and packaging them ready to market early next year. Has anyone a stall that they could sell them on or promote them on? All proceeds would go to the running of Future Roots.
Maybe there is a Vet that would advertise them?
- PEDIGREE SIMMENTAL BULL…Geronimo George…is ready to leave the farm so he needs a good home with lots of gorgeous lady cows!!! Please pass the word around.. Latest: Lovely lady now found, George heading to new pastures on 4th Dec.
PLEASE support this amazing place…HiddenNeedsTrust most certainly is! Get on the website and see for yourselves. You may be able to help financially, as a volunteer, with equipment or as a sponsor!
Tel; Julie Plumley 01963 210703 Twitter @JuliePlumley @FutureRootsNet
Website… Future Roots