Care farming is the therapeutic use of farming practices providing health, social or educational care services for one or a range of groups of people through supervised and structured programmes of farming and related activity. In other words a care farm essentially combines care of the land (including the environment and the animals) with the care of people.
Work on a care farm can help put someone’s life back on track by providing meaningful activity and a practical daily structure. The activities undertaken are real and based on the daily, weekly and seasonal jobs around the farm. The benefits, of being outdoors in the fresh air and working with animals, improved mental and physical health; are now becoming more widely recognised by health and education professionals.
Downham Farm offers people the opportunity to work on a traditional smallholding. The farm offers a wide range of activities to a variety of people. Activities include small and farm animal care, horticulture, basic woodworking, estate maintenance, arts and crafts.
Since it started in 2011 the care farm has grown and is now based in Monk Soham. The farm has a variety of old farm buildings, traditional farm yard and 15 acres of grazing land. The farm yard and buildings are suitable for wheelchair users and has fully accessible toilets.
Become a farm helper
Our farm helpers attend the farm at least one day a week, although some attend for up to three days every week. A typical day on the farm is based on the real work that needs completing; although there is really no such thing as a typical day when animals are involved!
Each morning a list of jobs is written up and after a coffee and chat, farm helpers are either allocated tasks or they are given the opportunity to volunteer for a job.
The farm offers day placements that can be purchased through personal budgets, direct payments or spot purchase/block funding by statutory services for the client groups mentioned below.
- Young people who are unable to cope with a traditional learning environment
- People suffering from mental health issues
- People with learning difficulties
- People with physical difficulties
Farm Manager and joint owner of Downham Cottage Care Farm, Debbie Rawlinson previously worked in an educational setting with a wide range of challenging young people and adults. Fellow owner and Director of Training & Development, Jane Hegarty worked in Health and Social Care with people with learning difficulties and the elderly.
Our combined passion for running the farm and working with vulnerable young people and adults led us to opening the farm. Witnessing first hand the positive benefits keeps us striving to improve the farm, the activities and facilities we can offer our farm helpers.
Get In Touch
To sign up to help on the farm, to book a visit or to simply get in touch please use the following details:
- 01728 685712