Eleven years ago, a contact from our farm education officer with Croftlands, a local mental health charity, led to a group visiting the farm on a weekly basis. with the understanding that being outside and working would be beneficial.
These ‘beneficiaries’ became the first of many, some referred by friends or family, others by local groups or contacts, who have come to the farm to benefit their mental and physical health.
Over the next eleven years, our care farm has developed, and now we offer a weekly programme available on Mondays or Fridays, supported by our care farm lead, Sam Foster. We are accredited by Social Farms and Gardens, holding a quality assurance certificate (the Green Care Quality Mark, formerly the Care Farming Code of Practice).
Samantha Foster leads our care farming. “I love people, animals, and farm life. I enjoy working with the care farmers, engaging with them, and working out the tasks for the day. “
Sam’s job is to involve the care farmers in a variety of jobs around the farm. This could mean moving cattle or sheep, checking the health of our flock, or making sure the hens and geese are properly cared for. Sam plans the activities around the farming calendar, nature and the outdoors. Sam is also responsible for the sheep and in using organic solutions to farming problems.
One of our main aims is to make sure that everyone who comes enjoys themselves and we spend a lot of time laughing.
Whether it's moving, feeding, checking stock, or getting stuck in with fencing and land management tasks, every day is different and there is never a dull moment on the farm!
We offer a full day on the farm, either a Monday or a Friday 9am- 3pm. This includes elevenses (a hot drink and homemade flapjack) and a homemade lunch. We always eat together as the social time when we are eating is hugely important; we encourage everyone to join in and have a good time. Other farm staff join us for lunch.
As well as being good for their mental and physical health, being on the farm can help develop knowledge, confidence, and resilience for our care farmers, as they do real jobs in a working context.
Our care farmers fill in a diary, to encourage them to reflect on the benefits of being outside and on the farm. We also take the opportunity to use and apply reading, writing and maths skills and problem solving where it fits in naturally with the tasks at hand.
Here is a short film produced by Cumbria Community Foundation which gives a good idea of the work that goes on here.
To complete a referral form, click here.
For more information, please e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01228 5488336.
From 1st September 2023 the daily rate will be increased to £85 + VAT/person.
Our ratio is usually 1:5, depending on the level of support required. Several of our care farmers come with personal 1:1 support.
Day sessions 9am-3.00pm- homemade organic lunch and snacks are provided by Susan’s Farm.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any help with funding for a care farm place.
As registered charity we rely on a variety of funding streams to run the farm, ranging from contributions from those using our services, to sales of our meat products, to grant contributions from funders and Defra who support the work we do.
Recently we have been awarded support from:
We would like to say a huge thank you to them and to all the others who have supported our work over the last few years.
Susan's Farm CIO
145 Houghton Road
Cumbria. CA3 0LD
We are a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) registered with the Charity Commission in England and Wales No 1183223