Some questions answered

 

Are you a young person coming to Jamie’s Farm?

When you are about to go somewhere new, it is really normal to have lots of questions. To help answer some of those questions and to get you feeling excited about your visit, our Ambassadors have made a video to tell you all about what a week at Jamie’s Farm is like.

Jack (aged 17), Adele (aged 16), Kamil (aged 13), Jessica (aged 16) and Louis (aged 15) talk about…how the day starts (00:30), some of the activities you do (01:15), what you do after lunch (2:05), what the walk in the afternoon is like (03:00), evening activities (3:37), what the Jamie’s Farm staff are like (05:07), what it’s like not having your phone (5:40) and what they think the best thing about the farm is (06.07).

 

Your staff have made a careful decision of who to bring to the Farm, from potentially lots and lots of young people. This means that they really believe in you and your potential and are sure that you will get a real boost from coming to the Farm, be that confidence, having a break, by being successful in a whole different setting, or examining your behaviour in a an environment away from school.

Here’s Jessica (aged 16), one of our Ambassadors, to tell you a little more about why you may have been chosen from her experience…


Here’s Robbie (aged 15), another one of our Ambassadors, to tell you a little more about being chosen to come to Jamie’s Farm…

A visit to the Farm will give you time to enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside, be really active, and reflect on how things are going with the support of the team who work here. Lots of young people like to see the visit as a fresh start or get a confidence boost from having a go at something completely new and succeeding at it. You will get a chance throughout the week to think about how you can take back some parts of the trip to school or home life, such as getting involved in different opportunities, pushing yourself out of your usual comfort zone, or talking to new people. You will find out new things about yourself and everyone will get a chance to show their best side.
You will also get a chance to try new skills and might find something you really like doing that you would like to do in the future, or learn some life skills to take back with you. Finally, just like a holiday, getting an exciting, challenging, active break away from normal life can give you a boost when you get back!

You will have a chance to do all sorts of activities including farming, cooking, gardening, log chopping, working with the horses, playing games and exploring the countryside. The jobs on farms change all year round and activities all contribute to life on the Farm.

No. It is a small farm and home to some of the staff, rather than a visit centre. You will be staying in the farmhouse or converted barn where we eat, and it will be just your group for the whole visit.

There is a big variety of things to do so we find that there is something that everyone will enjoy. It is unlikely that you won’t like anything. However, the most important thing about coming to the Farm is that you are willing to give things a go and try new experiences, to push yourself and see what it is like doing something totally different. Completing your visit might be, for you, a challenge, but it is one we are sure that you will be able to achieve. In our experience, we have not had anyone come to the Farm who hasn’t enjoyed their trip.

It is possible that you will miss home at some point but if you are feeling upset, there is always someone to talk to. Your days will be really busy and full of things to do, and you will have the team here with you right up until you go to bed so you won’t feel alone. Staying away from home is part of growing up; it is hard if you are doing it for the first time but a good thing to try.

Let your teachers know, or one of the Farm staff who come in to meet you before your trip. We can make sure that you are in a bedroom with someone in the group you trust. If you do wet the bed, you can tell any of us in the morning who will discreetly make sure your bed is clean and dry before you are next in your room. You should not be worried about letting us know, and definitely should still come!

There will be lots of opportunity to work through some of your fears, but also lots of opportunity to contribute to Farm life away from animals too, such as carpentry and wood work, gardening, cooking and walking. Your safety around the animals is very important to us. All the animals on the Farm are used to working with people. You will always be with an experienced farm staff member whenever you are with the animals and you will learn how to look after them properly and safely.

Yes. We have young people from all different religions coming to the Farm. We can organise a place to pray if you want it, have Halal meat, and always have vegetarian food if you do not want to eat meat for religious reasons. If you have any needs that you are worried about you should talk to us in our visit to see you before you come.

We ask that you commit to trying living in a different way for a week, like a life swap. What we eat is part of that. Too much sugar in your diet can mean that your energy will spike at times and be low at others. If you struggle to control your energy or attention, sugar can make it much worse. We need our Farmers to have a constant supply of good energy all day. Part of the experience is cooking and eating together. We are active all day and so always have plenty of food that you will have a chance to help grow and cook; almost all of it coming from the Farm. There is fruit available all day too and we bake a sweet tea time snack before walking. You won’t go hungry!

One of the best things about being in the countryside is the peace and space that you will have to think and get away from your usual worries at home. Bringing your phone will mean you are always half thinking about home, school or friends, and not totally focused on what you’re doing. It can also be unsafe to be distracted on a Farm by your phone. All of the team will be able to get in touch with each other if there is an emergency so you won’t need it for your own safety.

We will be able to get in touch with home on your behalf if there is any reason we think that they should be contacted.

The Farm, being a work place as well as a home, is non-smoking by law as well as preference. The Farm buildings are traditional wood framed, and barns contain materials that could easily catch fire if someone is smoking. Much like the food and phones, we are asking you to try and leave some of your normal habits at home. Smoking is bad for your health and so we would feel we were looking after you fully if we allowed you to do it. As it is so dangerous to the Farm, anyone breaking this agreement that you will sign up to, will likely be sent home. However, we are all here to support you in having a good week. If you are struggling with not smoking, talk to us, and we can make sure you have patches if you want them or support where we can.

We will provide you with overalls to cover your clothes on the Farm, and wellington boots if you don’t have your own. We also have enough waterproof trousers and jackets for everyone. In addition, we have spare jumpers and warm things if the weather is cold. Don’t go and buy anything new as it still might get dirty, but your older usual clothes will be fine. Don’t let this stop you from coming!

It would be lovely to have everyone on the Farm who wanted to come! However, visits are limited to schools or organisations such as youth groups, who will bring 10-12 people at a time. You can talk to your staff about the possibility of a visit, but be aware that there are lots of reasons why someone might be selected for a trip that might not work for you. We would love you to come along with a parent or guardian and have a look around on our open day in September.

It is always tricky to have young people working alongside other young people who are visiting the Farm, due to things like accommodation and safety. In some exceptional circumstances we can consider this for those who have visited the farm a number of times before, in consultation with teachers. However, it is unlikely to be possible in general cases.

What happens after my visit?

It is great that you had a good time. As we can only have small groups at a time, it is hard when schools or organisations want to bring as many people to experience the Farm as possible. However, we do regularly have one or two people coming in a group who have been before, who act as mentors to the other young people. Talk to your staff who organise the visit and put yourself forward.

You can follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook page (here). We also have an open day in September when you can come and visit.

Firstly, you have some amazing staff who brought you to the Farm. They will be able the best to support you at home and remind you of the things you managed to achieve when you were at your best here. If you feel that you have to talk to someone at the Farm, you can email any member of the Jamie’s Farm team who will be able to answer you. We are not able to reply to you without letting your teachers know, but will be happy to give you some advice.

There are load of opportunities to work with animals that you could investigate, from veterinary medicine to zoo keeping, as well as farming. In order to get in to Farming, having lots of work experience will help. Search for your local city farm to see if you can visit and get involved. Investigate apprenticeships or university courses in agriculture after finishing at school (like Steve did!). Farming is a tricky area to get in to, so the best thing to do will be to make sure you work hard to get the best qualifications you can so that you have all of the options available to you that you want, and talk to your careers advisor at school.

There are load of opportunities to work with animals that you could investigate, from veterinary medicine to zoo keeping, as well as farming. In order to get in to Farming, having lots of work experience will help. Search for your local city farm to see if you can visit and get involved. Investigate apprenticeships or university courses in agriculture after finishing at school (like Steve did!). Farming is a tricky area to get in to, so the best thing to do will be to make sure you work hard to get the best qualifications you can so that you have all of the options available to you that you want, and talk to your careers advisor at school.

Are you a parent or carer?

As a parent or carer of a young person who is coming to Jamie’s Farm, you may have lots of questions too. To help you get a better understanding of what your child’s visit to the farm will be like, Kelly talks about the experience her son Rob had at our Bath Farm.

Kelly describes the impact the visit had on her son, why Rob was initially referred (0:50), why he chose to do his work experience at the Farm (1:40) and lastly why she recommends you send your child to Jamie’s Farm (2:10).

 

“I would strongly advise you to do it because it is best experience… They are safe, they are well looked after, they are fed and they do come back totally, totally different. So, I would tell anyone thinking of sending them, do it straight away.”

Kelly, mother of Rob

What other parents and carers think about the experience

“Oh my gosh, my daughter has just come home from visiting your farm for a week. She is normally such a painfully shy girl but I cannot shut her up! In her own words, she had an amazing time and didn’t want to leave. Thank you so much everyone for making her week so magical. To any parent or guardian worried about their kids leaving for Jamie’s farm. Don’t worry! They will have the best time ever!”

Parent of Robyn, aged 11


“Morgan was not very confident in himself before he went on his first visit to Jamie’s Farm.  Since his return, he has become much more confident in himself.  Jamie’s Farm taught him how to cook and look after other people and animals. I’ll never forget my first batch of pancakes he made at home, yum! He has been back twice since, after being picked as an Ambassador.  Thanks to everyone at Jamie’s Farm for everything they have done for Morgan!”

Parent of Morgan, aged 14


“George seems to have grown in confidence since coming to Jamie’s Farm. He does not stop talking about all the actives he has done and tells me how much he loves it and how he can’t wait to go back. I am so great full for everything Jamie’s Farm have done for George and all the support you have given him. George said the other day that he wants to live in the countryside now and would love to be able to live on the farm. Thank you every one at Jamie’s Farm”.

Parent of George, aged 16 


“Fatima developed a lot of skills while attending Jamie’s Farm. She now has more of a sense of responsibility in the kitchen and is curious about different types of food. She has so much love for all the animals. She enjoys baking and uses her cookery book that was given to her at the Farm. We find that the cookery book brings us together and we can make lots of lovely food. For example, we made cookies together and they were delicious”.

Parent of Fatima, aged 14


“I would like to say a massive thank you for all you great work you do, Rob absolutely loved being on your farm. I really thought he would have hated it as he’s been so moody and aggressive lately and never wants to do anything out of his comfort zone.

It was lovely to come home to a calm positive happy boy, I can see the difference you guys make with these kids and it’s amazing. He’s had so many issues going on and he wouldn’t open up to anybody. He point blank refused counselling and just kept everything to himself, getting more angry and confused by the day. He’s like a changed person. He’s a pleasure to be around … what a difference a few days can make! Please can you thank everybody from our family.”

Parent about son Rob, aged 13


James was a very quiet, unconfident 14 year old when he first went to Jamie’s Farm. In each of the previous three summers, he had been to an outdoor activity centre for a week, and he’d enjoyed it – so when it was explained to him that now he was older the holiday available would be on a farm, helping with the work, he was not at all happy. Instead of kayaking and climbing, he would be mucking out pigs and helping with cooking! He was very sceptical when he was assured that everyone who went to Jamie’s Farm loved it and wanted to return.

Nearly five years on, and James says he can’t imagine life without Jamie’s Farm. He has loved his visits from the moment he first arrived and felt so welcomed. He has thrown himself (sometimes literally as well as metaphorically!) into the activities at Jamie’s Farm, and has gained so much from this experience throughout his teenage years. He really thrives on the mixture of practical achievements, teamwork, helping others, banter and good chats. The farm has been a warm, safe and welcoming place to be, where James has grown hugely in confidence, independence and empathy. He has been able to support other young people in many ways, and is now participating in a young leaders’ course organised by Jamie’s Farm.

From his initial caution, James has grown to become a great advocate and champion of Jamie’s Farm.

Carer of James, aged 19