Welcome to the first Jamie’s Farm Bath update of 2024!
We closed 2023 on a positive note, with the addition of a new partner, Whitefield School, and the return of Harris Academy St John’s Wood (HASJW). The young inidivduals from Whitefield exhibited remarkable resilience, embracing new activities despite the chilly weather and showering our horses with care and affection. HASJW students, too, had an unforgettable week, growing in confidence and demonstrating generosity by decorating Christmas cakes for our dedicated volunteers.
The festive period at the farm is always special, surrounded by the infectious energy and enthusiasm of our visiting young people. Their company adds a unique joy to Christmas time.
Kicking off the new year, we had the pleasure of hosting a group from Brentside High School and welcoming a new partner, St Bartholomew’s School. The young participants from Brentside displayed admirable resilience, evolving their decision-making skills and fostering teamwork. St Bart’s students embraced the challenges of practical tasks, maintaining a positive and can-do attitude, even during a sheep move uphill!
Six weeks post their farm experience, we conduct follow-ups with the groups, typically schools, to celebrate their achievements and reflect on how these experiences contribute to a positive school environment. Reconnecting with Thomas Kynvett College, The Astley Cooper School, and Carshalton Boys Sports College has been brilliant. It is wonderful to see the commitment from the staff in the school to supporting their young people’s journey beyond the farm, as whilst we might ignite a spark during the week, the visiting staff are those who will continue to nurture the flame going forward.
Out on the farm, the weather has had its challenges, including flooded fields, storms and sub-zero temperatures. We were lucky to welcome four new piglets on New Year’s Eve and the celebration of new life has continued with lambing having only just started. We are also looking forward to scanning the next group of ewes this week to plan for our April lambing. A few more newcomers to the farm include a goat called Jethro and a white pony called Cris, both of whom have settled in finding their place among our existing goat/horse crew. You can see from the photos below that Cris is particularly friendly and curious!
Our team has experiences a couple of bittersweet moments this last few weeks, with team members moving on to pastures new. We said a fond goodbye at Christmas to one of our longest-serving members of the team, Rob Lewis. His food, music, passion for the garden and long walks, will be sorely missed. January has also seen us say goodbye to our farmer, Nia Cowcher. She has certainly made her mark on the farm during her time here contributing her passion for regenerative farming, together with her gentle encouragement of all the young people who went out farming with her. We wish her the very best for the future! We are also very excited to have welcomed Janine Stevenson to the team, who is bringing her calm, consistent and positive approach to both the kitchen and garden.
We are always very grateful to our volunteers who make such a difference to us being able to provide the young people with a welcoming environment. A big shout out to Camilla, who has been supporting us every Monday in the kitchen, helping us prepare the group’s very first dinner of the week, one that is always very much enjoyed by the young people.
We hope you stay tuned for more updates for the coming months.
Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!