Upper Lodge Farming Project
Upper Lodge Farming Project is a social enterprise offering a therapeutic care farming service to those wishing to gain experience working and learning on a small farm with animals and in horticulture. The Project is situated on a 45-acre working farm in Padworth, West Berkshire, less than 2 miles from the A4 and Aldermaston Station. The farm consists of fields and pasture that are home to a wide range of farm animals, a large polytunnel, vegetable beds and woodlands.
The picturesque woodland area has a barn with a wood burning stove, stables converted into a kitchen, outdoor cooking facilities and toilets. A stream runs through the woods at the bottom of the land. We have a small herd of Dexter cattle, and a flock of sheep, mostly of the Hampshire breed. The meat from the sheep, pigs and cows supply a local childcare nursery. Other animals include pygmy goats, 3 donkeys, ducks, chickens and horses. Most of the animals have young each year giving lots of opportunity to care closely for them. We will be raising turkeys for Christmas in the future.
The 90 ft. polytunnel, raised beds and growing areas are used to cultivate vegetables and flowers. We grow our plants organically and have a real pride in our produce. The polytunnel is equipped with a kitchen and seating area where tea, coffee and lunch can be made and can be an ideal place for working inside if the weather is too wild. We can use another indoor area for written/computer work, meetings and reviews and we can also access a fully equipped kitchen for cooking activities.
At the Upper Lodge Farming Project we feel we are well placed to offer a wide range of outdoor activities to suit children and young people who find it difficult to function in mainstream day care or education. The project offers a service to small groups and so can be of real benefit to those who find large groups difficult to manage. Our service benefits young adults preparing for independence and/or going through transition and young people struggling with or unable to access mainstream education due to difficulties.
People who attend the project have the opportunity to gain skills and experience by working on many aspects of the farm. Activities can be structured in many ways to encourage cooperation and social skills.
Communication and relationship building can be positively affected by the environment and interaction with nature providing opportunities for personal growth and enjoyment. Days and activities on the care farm are tailored to individuals, depending on their skills, abilities and need.
Placements at the Project can be for short or extended periods and for a varying number of days per week. The working groups on the Project are planned to reflect appropriate social groupings of need, gender and age.
Our practice model is based on promoting positive behaviour through meaningful work using clear targets and positive reinforcement within a caring, rural environment. We believe that being part of the community at the farm will inspire and encourage student’s development and learning.
Our service aims to meet the needs of each student and we have a wide range of work and activities that students can enjoy and learn from with us on the farm. We can support students to produce evidence for vocational qualifications such as AQA’s, ASDAN and NVQ’s. These qualifications can provide positive stepping-stones into further education and future employment.
We are proud of the fact that we have already supported several young people back into mainstream education after a period of not being in school. Many of our students have a 100% attendance record with us at the farm.