The initial spark for the charity came when Jamie was teaching in the first cohort of Teach First participants in a Croydon comprehensive.
Shocked by the battleground the school had become, he brought lambs from his own farm in Wiltshire and set up pens in the school playground, charging his pupils with 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 at the family home. From the very first week they witnessed the profound impact that this combination could have. Thirty-five pilot weeks were run at their home, before the need for a purposely-converted farm became apparent. With the support of local lenders and donors, in 2009 the first Jamie’s Farm was purchased in Ditteridge, seven miles outside of Bath.
To this day those founding principles remain at the heart of our work and the charity has built a reputation as an innovative and in-demand intervention that operates across four rural farms and a city farm in Waterloo.