Shallowford Farm is a working hill farm in Dartmoor National Park that works with young people from all backgrounds, particularly encouraging children from the inner cities and ethnic minorities to engage with the outdoors, benefiting from physical and mental nourishment and developing a long lasting and positive relationship with the environment.
Anna Hicks from Bannerman Road Community Academy knows this well, having visited previously. So she approached the Alpkit Foundation for some support towards a trip back there.
As a Bristol city school she really appreciated how important it was to get children out the city and outdoors. She explained a little on how it had impacted children last time.
We attended last year taking students who struggled academically and were very shy and lacked confidence in class. At Shallowford Farm they were constantly beaming and exuded confidence in every activity. We also took children with significant behaviour challenges and these children returned to school engaged in their learning and with a new found confidence in their abilities. For a group of some of our more vulnerable students, this experience was a life changing experience, one they will never forget.
We were delighted to add some support with a £250 award so that it could be used towards helping the 16 children from various backgrounds access the same experience. Many of these children live in overcrowded tower blocks with very little access to nature. Anna was determined to change that for more children and it was great to hear back from her on how things went. The children returned ready to face challenges of the academic world. They tried new things, tasted new foods, experienced leaving Bristol for the first time ever and made new friends. They climbed hills, cleaned out pigs, fed cows and walked for miles - many of them for the first time. The children have become more confident, and they have achieved things that they didn’t think possible. Every single child achieved something. Whether that be the child with an eating disorder trying a green bean, or the child who cannot concentrate in the school environment sitting for an hour spinning wool.