Surrey Docks Farm Youth Club gives young people the chance to learn about working with animals and growing your own food. Last Summer, the farm used a £750 Small Grant from the Jack Petchey Foundation to provide volunteering, training and accreditation for 40 young people from the local area.
The participants, or ‘junior volunteers’, attended a minimum of one volunteer session a week over a four-month period. The junior volunteers took part in practical tasks, learning how to care for a range of livestock including pigs, cows, sheep, goats and poultry. They also received Animal Handling Training and attended a donkey care training session provided by the Donkey Sanctuary.
At the end of the training, the junior volunteer team headed up to Enfield to compete in the City Harvest Festival against other London city farms. They took part in ‘Animal Classes’, ‘Young Handler Classes’ and a tug of war! The team also tested their knowledge in an ‘Animal Quiz’ and the staff were really impressed to see how much they had learnt over the past few months. Overall, Surrey Docks Farm came second in the Animal Show- an amazing achievement! The team were brilliant competitors and one of the judges mentioned that the junior volunteer team had a great attitude.
The project has had an amazing impact on the young people who took part. Not only did they learn new skills and knowledge about livestock and gardening, the funding also enabled the farm to give them official AQA Accreditation for their hard work. The grant also paid for a minibus to take the team to the City Harvest Festival, giving them the chance to put their skills and knowledge to the test and come out of the competition with second place!
Many young people who visit the farm don't have a garden which can add to concerns around the number of children who are unfit or overweight. This project has helped to promote health and sustainability around gardening, healthy eating and exercise. The experience and qualifications they gained will also help them to develop their CVs and improve their job prospects in the future.
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