Our journey

 

The initial spark for the charity came when Jamie Feilden was teaching in the first cohort of Teach First participants in a Croydon comprehensive.

Shocked by the battleground the school had become stemming from poor behaviour and a lack of engagement, he initially brought lambs from his own farm in Wiltshire and set up animal pens in the school playground, charging his pupils with the job of looking after them; he observed that it was frequently the children who struggled most to focus and maintain positive relationships in school who benefited most from the responsibility and nurture needed to tend to these animals. At this point, he came up with the idea of taking pupils back to his home farm in Wiltshire.

Using his own farming experience and the 30 years’ worth of experience that Tish, Jamie’s mother, had built up as a psychotherapist, they developed an approach based on Farming, Family and Therapy and piloted weeklong visits through the family home. From day one Jamie was determined that the farm would not be a ‘petting zoo’ but that there would be real jobs with a real purpose. When combined with the therapeutic methodology that Tish devised and the essence of a loving, family framework of support, a powerful intervention was born. From the very first week, they witnessed the profound impact that this combination could have on disengaged teenagers. Thirty-five pilot weeks were run through the family home, before the need for a purposely-converted farm became apparent.

2005

June — First visit from Haling Manor School, Croydon – where Jamie was teaching – to Tish’s and Jamie’s home at Sheep House Farm just outside of Bath

2006

July — ‘Life Outside Hackney’ traced the story of children visiting from Cardinal Pole Catholic School, Hackney. Jamie is still working for Teach First and organises visits in his spare time.

2007

In these early years, Jamie’s Farm worked with 11 London schools on a part-time basis.

Pigs: 9, Sheep: 25, Cows: 15

2008

March — First visits from Manchester and Liverpool schools


December — The team sets out to make Jamie’s Farm a national charity, while based out of a horsebox office!

2009

January — First trustees’ meeting


May — Charity Launch and registration with the Charity Commission!


June — Jamie receives ‘Teach First Ambassador of the Year’ award


December — Number of Jamie’s Farm visitors: 340.

Pigs: 80, Sheep: 102, Cows: 55

2010

February — Purchase of a permanent home for the charity at Hill House Farm in Box, Wiltshire.


March — Funding commitment from the Department of Health to renovate the disused barn for the promotion of emotional and well-being of children.


May — Learning Outside the Classroom accreditation


September — Jamie’s Farm nominated ‘Best New Charity’ in Charity Times

2011

June — Barn redevelopment allows us to impact more children per week in an award-winning environment.


July — Inaugural Jamie’s Farm Cock and Bull Festival raises £21,000


December — Jamie’s Farm has worked with over 800 children.

Pigs: 150, Sheep: 134, Cows: 100

2012

February — HRH Duchess of Cornwall visits the Farm and begins an ongoing relationship with the charity


May — Long term funding gained from Esmée Fairbairn ensuring long-term viability of charity;


December — Jamie’s Farm has worked with over 1300 children

Sheep: 210

2013

July — Third annual Cock and Bull Festival raises over £30,000


October — Beginning of the consultation exercise with Accenture to set up the business case and project plan for expansion


December — Jamie’s Farm has worked with over 1800 children

Pigs: 220, Sheep: 347, Cows: 120

2014

February — Jamie’s Farm stars in BBC documentary Tough Young Teachers
July HRH Duchess of Cornwall agrees to be patron


August — Contracts exchanged on a beautiful second Farm in Herefordshire


October — In partnership with Oasis, Jamie’s Farm to set up an urban community Farm in the heart of London


December — Jamie’s Farm has worked with over 2200 children

Sheep: 584

2015

February — Jamie’s Farm welcomes our first group to the Herefordshire location. Congratulations, Winston Churchill School – you are our pioneers!

2016

July — The 6th Cock & Bull Music Festival is held, raising a record £55,000 for Jamie’s Farm


November — with two farms reaching capacity a third Jamie’s Farm is purchased in Redbrook, near Monmouth


December — 3,600 children have now visited Jamie’s Farm

2017

May — HRH Duchess of Cornwall visits Jamie’s Farm Hereford, meeting students from St Paul’s Way Trust, our staff and local supporters


July — plans for the fourth Jamie’s Farm are confirmed, and a lease arrangement is agreed to bring the Jamie’s Farm model to East Sussex by spring 2019


December — 4,500 children have now visited Jamie’s Farm

2018

January — After a year of redevelopment, Jamie’s Farm Monmouth opens and hosts its first group of young people


March — 5,000 children have now visited Jamie’s Farm