Shropshire schools get chance to win residential stay at organic farm

A community-owned farm in Shropshire is offering residential packages to encourage young people to get outside and explore nature.

Mike Grabarz, residential lead at Fordhall Organic Farm, and pupils from Market Drayton Infants School
Mike Grabarz, residential lead at Fordhall Organic Farm, and pupils from Market Drayton Infants School

And to tie in with the launch, Fordhall Organic Farm in Market Drayton, is one offering one school the chance to win a stay at the farm in North Shropshire.

A recent study by Natural England, which was commissioned during the Covid pandemic, has demonstrated the positive role of nature in supporting children's wellbeing – with 83 per cent of young people agreeing it made them happy.

The outdoors and natural spaces are important places for children to connect with each other and the natural world, but during the pandemic they were spending less time outdoors.

During the lockdowns, 81 percent of children stated they had spent less time outside with their friends.

As restrictions have eased and things have started to get back to normal, 70 percent of children say they want to spend more time outdoors with friends.

Charlotte Hollins, Fordhall community land initiative manager, said: "I'm really keen that Fordhall gives children an opportunity to experience something a little different to what they know in a relaxed, community-orientated environment.

"Natural England's research really demonstrates just how much of a positive impact time outdoors can have on young people.

"We passionately agree with this but also believe that the time should be fun and memorable, creating memories that will last a lifetime, and this is something we specialise in at Fordhall.

"In the age of TikTok and smartphones, it's really important that children get the chance to explore and have fun in the outdoors.

"Our residential visits are all about teamwork and learning new skills and creating memories to help build upon childrens' confidence and resilience."

As part of the residential visit, the winning class will get the opportunity to immerse themselves into farm life – from a farm to fork tour learning about everything from worms and grasses to livestock and food miles.

This year’s focus at Fordhall is on the climate emergency and ecological crisis; being an organic farm, looking after the natural environment is paramount to the team.

Children will spend time in the woodland, visit the pigs, cows and sheep, take part in river dipping, observe the ponds, hunt for bugs and spot wildlife.

During the evening, children will enjoy a tasty home cooked meal before relaxing around the campfire with a hot chocolate before bed.

Charlotte added: "I'd strongly encourage local children to enter our competition for a chance to win a free residential for their school.

"To enter, all you need to do is show us why your class would love to have a fun and educational trip to Fordhall Farm.

"Your entry can include one or all of the following – a paragraph from your teacher, a letter written by your class and a piece of art made by the children.

"Remember to use your imagination to get across why your class really wants to win and we will choose our favourite entry."

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