What We Do
Care farms use farming practices as part of a restorative healing treatment or therapy. The care farm could be all or part of a farm and offer health, social or educational care services to vulnerable people.
Apple Tree Farm serves a community of children and young people looking to improve their physical and mental well-being as well as extend their skillset and educational opportunities.
Currently, a large part of the work undertaken at the farm are 1:1 sessions. These work well as they allow children to be paired with one key member of staff, giving them chance to build a working relationship and an opportunity to work on individually tailored skills.
Every 1:1 session is planned around each child’s needs and interests to engage them as much as possible, with the intention to work towards goals and achievements identified by the child themselves, or by those working around them.
A typical 1:1 session lasts for 2-3 hours, and includes time around the farm, a snack break, (often a hot chocolate in the colder months!), and crafts and other practical skills. Children doing 1:1 sessions will also be offered social time with others around the farm, such as cooking and eating around the fire or in the barn kitchen.
“Going to Apple Tree Farm every Thursday has made me really happy” A quote from one of our 1:1 students.
A fun and engaging toddler group, promoting independence and exploration in the great outdoors. Our mini farmers are pre-school aged and help with the feeding and caring for our animals. These sessions are led by farm staff but parent supervised and finish off with a drink for everyone and snacks for the little ones.
A new and expanding area of the farm services is alternative provision for those who are currently between educational settings or unable to access their educational provision.
Alternative provision includes sessions at the farm that are more than 3 hours in length, and usually up to a full day, and gives key workers an opportunity to bring in selective aspects of academic skills through daily farm tasks and teach more detailed knowledge about animal care and management.
Alternative provision is very dependent on each child’s needs, so the best way to find out if this may be suitable for your child is to speak to one of our team members about how we could cater to your child’s specific needs.
“With Phil I do “woodings” which is woodwork. I have built roofs, fences and shelters. The thing I enjoy the most is roof work. Phil is a good laugh and a good teacher. He makes things easy to understand and repeats himself when he needs to. I have learnt to use tools like electric screwdrivers, and saws and use them safely” A quote from one of our older Alternative provision students who has since left to start college.
In March 2022, the farm secured funding to improve the wild area at the farm. It is now an area that is constantly developing. Currently, it has a firepit hut, storage sheds and a huge fire pit for cooking.
Plans extend to the to the creation of a natural play area, planting area and creating habitats to increase the wildlife population. The children have been a key part of this development and love the activities provided so far. Activities such as den making, and fire lighting have been the top favourites among the children.
Phil is deeply knowledgeable in this area and is a keen whittler and fire starter! It is hoped that this space will be popular with children accessing our services and provide a different aspect to the learning opportunities already in existence at the farm. Watch this space for updates on the development of this area.
Group sessions at the farm include school groups, home education groups, toddler groups, holiday/weekend groups and even birthday parties. They are a minimum of 2 hours but can be longer depending on each group’s needs. Each session is catered to suit the group as a whole and can be focused on specific areas that the group needs to develop. This could be social, emotional, or physical aspects or simply learning more about animal care and management. Group numbers vary from each group and are assessed on each group’s needs and how many staff are needed to support them. Group sessions are a wonderful way to learn new skills as a team.
The best way to find out if a group session is suitable for your child is to speak to one of the team who will advise you on the most suitable option for your child’s needs.
“I wanted to get on touch with you to say a massive thank you for all your time and effort that you have invested with our children this year. There has been a child that has been through a number of schools and is now accessing school life.
The support, time and guidance that you have given to them has been wonderful and I cannot thank you all enough.” Quote from a local school.