A CHARITY has recently bought a rural farm near Bath. 

Jamie's Farm, an education charity that helps disadvantaged young people boost their self-confidence, has purchased Lower Shockerwick Farm in Box Valley. The farm neighbours the original Hill House Farm, where the charity began. 

The purchase of a sixth rural farm means 450 more children can be helped each year. The 200-acre farm includes a four-bedroom seventeenth century house, a cottage, and barns, all of which will be adapted for use by visiting school children with residential visits starting in Autumn 2024.

Jamie Feilden, co-founder and CEO of Jamie’s Farm, said the purchase is a 'dream come true'. 

"It is an incredible opportunity to expand our capacity and better meet the growing need for our proven therapeutic intervention, at a time when young people are facing some of the toughest challenges in decades," he said. 

"The farm has a sense of beauty, history and family and with sensitive redevelopment of the land and buildings we will bring it to life with children and animals.

"We are excited to open up these ancient doors to an additional 450 disadvantaged children a year. The previous owners, friends and neighbours, greatly believe in the work of Jamie’s Farm.

"Our cattle and sheep have been making the land their home for a number of years already and we are delighted to be able to extend our regenerative farming practices across the site, and – with the help of our visiting young people - work to improve the biodiversity of the environment though woodland and river management. 

“We will plant hedges, regenerate the pastures and produce quality grass fed beef and lamb. We are currently fundraising for the redevelopment, and are very grateful to the individuals, trusts, and Triodos Bank who are already helping to fund the project. Their continued faith in our programme, which brings such life changing support to children at risk of social and academic exclusion at a crucial time in their lives, is invaluable.”

The charity runs five-day residential programmes which give children time and space to reflect, renew and determine a new path for themselves.

Young people are given the opportunity to display their talents and show responsibility with real farm jobs. 

Jack Carter, 22, first visited Jamie's Farm aged 12 and went on to visit six further times. He's now an ambassador for the charity, crediting his experiences there with changing his life.

”Jamie’s Farm has been transformative in my life," he said.

"I was put into the care system when I was 10, and moved in with my foster parents shortly after. I was very antisocial at that point. I hardly had any friends, I didn’t want to speak to anyone and I was very much in my own head.

"My visits boosted my confidence, raised my self-esteem and gave me hope."

The new site has been purchased with lending from sustainable bank, Triodos, plus fundraised income. 

John Sharpe, business banking relationship manager at Triodos Bank UK, added: “We’ve worked with Jamie’s Farm for almost 14 years now and it has been wonderful to see the charity grow its network of sites and the number of young people that it can support during that time.

"As a bank focused on positive impact, we’re pleased to support this latest chapter at Lower Shockerwick Farm. The project is set to bring many benefits to young people, the wider community and biodiversity around the farm.”