Our Outdoor Learning Team have been busy over the last few months with a variety of projects, as well as welcoming back school groups for visits.
School groups have come to enjoy our nature activities, picking and cooking our produce, exploring our pondlife and digging in our mud patch. We’ve had lovely feedback on the sessions:
‘Just wanted to drop you a line to say a personal thank you for such a terrific, high quality and informative day out. The class really loved their time at the farm!’
‘The children learned how different plants can be grown and used for food. Similarly for the animals. The process of harvesting vegetables, preparing and cooking from scratch was very powerful for lots of our children and gave them the inspiration to cook the stir fry at home. This was very gratifying considering the packaged food they all brought in their lunch boxes.’
More info about the sessions we offer for schools can be found here.
BBC Children in Need
We’re in the third year of our nurture programme funded by BBC Children In Need. This programme allows us to run two after school nurture groups with referrals from local schools, for children who will benefit from some small group experiences at the farm. The children come for a minimum of a term and really thrive in the farm environment, building bonds with the staff and animals which helps their self-confidence to grow.
Our digging patch is often a focus – digging in soil brings benefits to wellbeing, creativity, team building and allows the free play so essential for a healthy childhood.
Alternative Education Provision
We work with an alternative education setting providing farm sessions for three young people not in mainstream education. They build confidence and social skills through animal care, cooking and gardening.
We would love to do more of this work but there are constraints around the site, so we are hoping that Hartcliffe farm may provide more opportunities for young people in the future.
‘WHCF run weekly sessions for small groups of students and their experience, knowledge and flexibility have allowed our students to thrive in a completely different environment, away from a school setting.’
Your Holiday Hub Programme
The YHH programme is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) through the Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) grant. Local Authorities in England have been allocated funding based on the number of Free School Meal students in their local area.
Bristol City Council is working closely with the Bristol Association of Neighbourhood Daycare, Children’s Scrapstore, Feeding Bristol and FareShare to coordinate a summer 2021 programme of fun and engaging activities for children and young people in Bristol.
We’ve been involved for the last two years, during Easter and Summer, providing two sessions per week for children referred through St Mary Redcliffe Primary. Most of the children live in high rise flats, with little outdoor space.
We walk them over from the school, cook some lunch and do some farm activities, which have included animal care, wood chopping and lots of digging! Many of the children have attended previous sessions, so it is great to continue building our relationship with them.
The Children’s Kitchen also ran some cooking sessions with us which the children really enjoyed.
Increasing access to the Farm
During lockdown we were able to offer farm session to families from the BAME community and Asia Youif has used the Farm for a session in her role as Black & Green Ambassador.
We have a family gardening project underway (One World Garden) funded by the Lotto Community Fund with sessions running at weekends and during the week in the holidays until the end of September. We’re all enjoying the chance for parents and children to work together in the garden, harvesting and cooking our produce. Families also made window boxes to take home.
This work is all starting to increase independent usage of the farm by more diverse groups including local families who were previously unaware we were here and free and open access, which is lovely to see.
Looking to the year ahead we hope to busy with school groups, developing an education offering at Hartcliffe Farm for local schools for 2022 and continuing with our nurture programme.
– Julie, Outdoor Learning Manager