Bromley visits Abbey Home Farm
Making Positive Decisions Residential
For the October half term Bromley’s Active Involvement Officer Melissa Bob-Amara organised an amazing residential trip at the fabulous Abbey Home Farm in Cirencester. The residential was supported by Tim Beer, Nicole Bassy and 2 care leaver volunteers Shannon and Grace. It was attended by 7 girls aged 12-14 years old who are currently looked after by Bromley and were identified by the Virtual School as those in need of some extra support. The residential took place from the 26th-30th October.
The programme consisted of the following:
Thursday 22nd October
The week before the half term the young people and carers met at the Bromley Civic Centre to discuss the aims of the residential. The meeting also gave the young people an opportunity to meet each other, for some it was their first time in a group of other children looked after. The meeting included ice breakers, setting the ground rules and an exploration of fears and hopes for the trip.
Aims of the Making Positive Decisions residential:
- To give the group an opportunity to participate in a residential on a working farm away from their everyday norms
- To include activities such as farmyard duties, egg collecting, horse care,, vegetable harvesting etc
- To explore with the group their thoughts and opinions of experiencing change
- To give the young people a complete organic experience, especially where food is concerned
- To create an environment that enabled the group to build positive relationships with each other and staff
- To deliver topic based workshops that enable the group to better understand themselves and the world around them
Monday 26th October
On Monday we arrived at the farm for 3pm and received a warm welcome from Maya, the Education Officer for The Farm Project at Abbey Home Farm. Maya introduced us to our beautiful accommodation, the Orchard and along with Hilary one of the farm owners, they gave us the rules for the farm which included wearing wellies whilst doing all of the farm activities and being aware around the animals . After establishing the ground rules, they took us on a farm tour so that everyone would become familiar with their surroundings. The tour included visiting the cows and the crops.
That evening we had a workshop on embracing change and then went on a nightwalk with Will another one of the farm owners. For some of the girls the night walk was the highlight of their trip, it included a walk in the woods and an opportunity to participate in a food challenge. Our evening ended with marshmallows around the campfire.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Everyday started at 6.30am, staff members would get the girls up and ready for farm duties, before having breakfast in the delightful Orchard accommodation. Stepping outside of your door you were blessed with beautiful views of the farm. Every morning the girls participated in either breakfast preparation, farmyard jobs such as feeding the cows and vegetable harvesting.
Take a look at this gigantic cabbage and carrot…
Breakfast was always fresh and consisted of cereal options, freshly made breads, eggs, jams, honey etc and of course all organic.
After breakfast the activities included egg collecting, woodlands and vegetable planting.
The girls absolutely fell in love with the chickens and learnt how to grade the eggs before taking them to the shop to be sold.
There was an opportunity every day to go to the woodlands in the farm jeep and learn how to build a fire with Will. At the end on the woodlands trip, Will would take the girls to the farm museum to explore all of the magical and historical items he’s personally found on the farm, some dated back to the Roman times.
The farm has some amazing history and it was great to learn about it with Will.
During lunch times we prepared our meals together and every day there was something different. We made sandwiches, pizza’s and soups.
Some examples of our lunch times..
After lunch time we facilitated our own workshops that encouraged the girls to explore their thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics such as Being in care, How they see themselves, Values etc.
The girls enjoyed these as there was always something new to explore and discuss. They appreciated having care leavers as volunteers on the trip to share their experiences.
Some examples of the work achieved:
After some reflection time, we proceeded with the evening activity which included Supper Preparation, Milking the cows and Horse Care.
Milking the cows
We all got the opportunity to see how the dairy cows are milked on the farm, and if you wanted you also got to have a go at milking the cows yourself.
After milking the cows we got the opportunity to feed the calves with the milk.
We all know that most girls love horses and on this occasion it was obvious. Our girls loved the up close and personal opportunity to groom the horses owned by the owners daughter Becs.
After a full days work on the farm
After finishing on the farm we’d settle down for a delicious supper and homemade cakes.
Of course the learning and fun didn’t end there, we’d always have another workshop session and either have a pampering session or a warming campfire.
The last day…
We spent first part of the day reflecting on and evaluating the experience, here are some of the things that the girls and staff said:
How was the Staff?
One positive change that you would like to make in life…
We ended the residential with certificates for participation and motivational mugs for all…Oh and how could I forget the reflection walk.
We waved Maya, Will and Hilary from the minibus, there were lots of tears as we departed.
We can’t wait to return…..