The statistics tell a challenging story too – 35 children are excluded daily from school; only 1% of these get five good GCSEs needed for employment; 1 in 2 have a mental health problem and the majority will make up the prison population. Astonishingly over their lifetime, an excluded child will cost the taxpayer £370,000*. The Jamie’s Farm story, however, is about a new glimmer of hope and light for children at risk of spiralling into this kind of trouble in the South.
Now, in its 10th year, the Jamie’s Farm programme is coming to Lewes, East Sussex.
Jamie’s Farm is an education charity set up by an ex-teacher and his psychotherapist mother, whose fundamental belief is that all children are good. Through a 5-day residential at one of their farms, children and their teachers are immersed in a powerful blend of Farming, Family & Therapy. The week and in-school follow-up is proven to draw out new behaviours and attitudes with a lasting impact.
Hajar Benmehdia, aged 16, speaking two years on from her visit, says; “Jamie’s Farm provided the foundation and support needed in order to mould myself into a person, who was once troubled and unable to reach their full potential, and now knows that life has no limits.”
In 2018, 1,180 disadvantaged children benefited from Jamie’s Farm; of those at risk of exclusion, 75% no longer were 6 months after visiting the Farm. For almost 10 years now, Jamie’s Farm has delivered its programme to 5,600 vulnerable children. Demand from schools has seen the programme grow from their first farm near Bath, to Hereford (est. 2015) and Monmouth (est. 2018).
Next year, their fourth Farm will open in Lewes. From here, the charity seeks to serve schools and communities along the South Coast, from Kent, Sussex and beyond. Development is underway to get the farm ready to open its doors to children in April 2019, however they need your help. Between 27th November to 4th December as part of the nationwide Big Give Christmas Challenge, all donations from £5 to £5,000 will be doubled, so there really is no better time to donate and help bring the Lewes Farm to life!
Visit jamiesfarm.org.uk to learn how your charitable giving can go twice as far this Christmas.