Farms for City Children
Devon, United Kingdom
About Farms for City Children
Children’s author Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare founded Farms for City Children at Nethercott House in Devon in 1976. The charity offers urban children from all over the country a unique opportunity to live and work together for a week at a time on a real farm in the heart of the countryside. It is an intense, ‘learning through doing’ experience of a different life – for children who may not know where their food comes from and have limited opportunities to explore the outside world.
We now have three working farms, where we welcome around 3,000 children and 400 teachers a year.
Our Aims and Objectives
Farms for City Children aims to encourage learning, to raise self-esteem, and to enrich young lives by providing a safe and welcoming setting where children and their teachers together get involved for a whole week in the working life of a real farm with real farmers.
The main objectives underpinning our aims are as follows:
- Understanding farming, the countryside and food production.
- Social and emotional development through teamwork.
- Immersion and total involvement through a whole seven-day stay a ‘world away’.
- Celebrating success and building self-worth through work and the completion of tasks.
- Learning about healthy eating.
- Using practical, hands-on learning outside the classroom to enhancing the requirements of the national curriculum.
- Drawing on the farm experience and the charity’s literary heritage to promote literacy and storytelling.
- Building and developing relationships.
- Addressing poverty of experience arising not just from economic and social deprivation, but also from the effects of increasing materialism.
Clare and Michael Morpurgo established FFCC in 1974 and the founding farm, Nethercott House in Devon, opened in 1976, held by FFCC on a long peppercorn lease. In 2001, the Charity purchased the house outright and began a programme of much-needed refurbishment.
In 1986, FFCC acquired Lower Treginnis in Pembrokeshire on a long lease from the National Trust. After a highly successful fundraising campaign, the buildings were converted and re-structured by FFCC and in May 1989 Lower Treginnis opened for its first schools. The project won many awards for its sensitive restoration of the original farm buildings to provide a purpose-built, child-oriented space.
In 1993, a further property was secured on a 99 year lease – Wick Court in Gloucestershire. Wick Court is an historic Tudor manor house and needed extensive renovation and conversion for practical use. With the help of a major grant from the Heritage Lottery and an intensive capital fundraising drive, Wick Court opened to children in 1998.