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BBC Wiltshire – Children in Need support Jamie’s Farm

A Wiltshire charity which helps children at risk of exclusion has received £89,000 from Children in Need.

Jamie’s Farm will use the money over the next three years to expand its work holding residential farm stays and psychotherapy for 11 to 16-year-olds.

Chief Operating Officer, Ruth Carney, said: "It is the opposite of a clinical setting where they can talk about the things that make them angry or upset."

The charity aims to use the grant to help up 500 pupils a year by 2014.

‘Building self-esteem’

"It’s for children who are finding it difficult to fit into mainstream schools so it might be around behaviour, but more around self-esteem and the inability to build relationships," said Ms Carney.

Normally the courses run for five days providing a basis for future development which the teacher and pupil can build on once they return to school.

Jamie’s Farm, in Box near Corsham, is also a fully-functional farm where the pupils take an active role in helping out, which is also intended to boost their self-esteem.

"There’s a very straightforward relationship between a child and an animal – it is quite therapeutic in its nature in the sense that it’s very easy to see when an animal is upset.

"It’s easy to see the effect you have on an animal regardless of how confident or happy you feel."

The farm has ducks, cows, sheep pigs and chickens, as well as dogs, cats and horses – all of which are regarded as non-threatening for the children.

A total of 21 projects across Wiltshire have benefited from £608,000 in Children in Need funding in the past year.

BBC Local Radio is hosting 22 special screenings of Grease in aid of Children in Need, at Cineworld cinemas across England on Tuesday 15th November. Tickets are £6, with £5 going to Children in Need.