Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shropshire Housing Group assists young people at Fordhall Farm

An exciting project to support young people in the Market Drayton area struggling with conventional education has been given pilot funding by the Shropshire Housing Group recently.

The Fordhall Community Land Initiative is running the project which works with small numbers of young people from the local area. Conservation activities around the farm are used to develop their skills, confidence and self-esteem, helping these young people to achieve some direction in life and offer support to them in their career progression.
They may be putting up fences, mending benches, repairing tools, creating children's play areas or conservation work on and around Fordhall.  It is something that has remained on our ideas list for some time, and when a chance conversation with the Shropshire Housing group occurred last year, it all began to take shape.

It has been proven that outdoor activities provide valuable alternative, often non-competitive, avenues for achievement, as well as opportunities to develop independence and self-reliance. Through successfully facing up to the challenges which outdoor activities provide, overcoming fears and apprehensions along the way, we have seen how young people can make major strides in confidence. 

Working closely with the Grove School and County Training we are seeing a great demand for experiences which work with young people away from the classroom environment.

It is an ideal partnership and has been generously funded through the Shropshire Housing group who are committed to providing community benefit projects in their communities and encouraging sustainable communities.

Mike Price is our new Youth Coordinator at Fordhall Farm and he has been fantastic at working with the young people, improving their self confidence and teaching them many new skills on the farm - we may even be able to get them to write their own blog...

Although this remains a pilot project (due to end in March), there is hope that funding will continue and more opportunities will be created for young people at Fordhall Farm. We have our fingers crossed!
It is normally difficult to get our youngsters to smile for the camera, but there was a chance shot of Chris and Aidan, with Mike (top right), after building a willow den for children in our picnic area (first image of the blog).


One of our fab young people checking his work after building stepping stones for visiting children to play on

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The snow at Fordhall

The last seven days have been a real winter wonderland at Fordhall and we thought it was about time we shared some of the lovely views we have been so fortunate to see ourselves.

When the snow first came on Friday last week, it seemed as though the country had gone into melt down, the schools were closed and the roads were empty. However, the livestock continued to graze regardless. Pushing their noses through the sparkly white fluff to find the grass below.

So, we thought it was a great opportunity to go for a walk about and take some lovely photos.

We started with Terry taking some hay out to the cattle and sheep. Out on our only farm vehicle - the quad bike, Terry took piles of hay, which had been cut from our hay meadows during the summer months.

Being careful not to put the hay in the same place as the day before, Terry spreads it across the field. This way he can be sure the cattle don't all congregate in the same place and turn the ground to mud - which would ruin the ground for any winter grazing.

For those that don't know, Terry is Ben's stockman. He started working at Fordhall about 40 years ago when the farm was making yoghurts, but dad had to make him redundant in the 1990's when the farm was struggling. Almost 15 years later and Terry is back at Fordhall.

We then walked over to our Heritage Site, the old Ringwork and Bailey, stopping to take photo's on the way. As we passed our new wildlife hide, built by young people doing reperation work, we spotted a robin and with some patience, we were able to get a lovely shot.

With the public scared indoors because of the snow, we decided to make the most of it all, and invited the whole of Market Drayton to come sledging on the farm last weekend. Facebook and Twitter went crazy and families turned up with sledges in tow.

It was great to see so many enjoying their time at the farm. Enjoying the simple and free pleasures that the weather brings. It was so lovely to see Fordhall at the heart of the community and we hope that everyone will return this weekend to play some more....


And if you like these there are more pics on our facebook page

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Courses, workshops, events...you name it, we've got it!

We have a jam packed year ahead of us with volunteer weekends, events, music nights, school visits, guided walks, functions, courses and holiday activities!

Basket Weaving Workshop
We have a lot of new and exciting courses and workshops throughout the year – including Introduction to Greenwood Working, Biodynamic Workshops, Family Woodland Day, Easter and Xmas Wreath making AND back by popular demand, we have Basket Weaving Workshops too!

Fordhall Bee
 We have also got the lovely Brigit Strawbridge (BBC2 It’s not easy being green) coming up to do a Bee Aware workshop and the wonderful John Hughes (Shropshire Wildlife Trust) is coming along to do a Mushroom Mosey and Munch! Both of these sessions will involve a walk around the farm, with a talk and a delicious Fordhall meal too.

Fordhall Mushrooms

For more information on all of our courses and events this year please check out our website www.fordhallfarm.com/events or give us a call in the office on 01630 638696

Outdoor Learning at Fordhall Farm