Grove Farm Woodland offers courses that appeal to numerous people from all walks of life. Perhaps you’re keen to discover survival skills, so you can experience the natural world in confidence, maybe you’re a keen hiker or explorer who wishes to be better equipped for the wild, a parent who wants their child to be confident sleeping out under the stars, a teacher who feels the knowledge of survival skills are a essential part of education or possibly you’re a youth worker who believes that youngsters learning to work together as a team in a natural environment is an crucial part to your programme or even a company director who wants a fun day out with your staff.
Grove Farm Woodland is a Social Enterprise offering a therapeutic day service to those wishing to gain experience working and learning in a Woodland setting
The Project is situated on a 65-acre private woodland in countryside in Stitchcombe Wiltshire less than 2 miles from the A4 and Marlborough.
The Woodland is equipped with a kitchen and seating area where tea, coffee and lunch can be made and we also have an indoor learning area for written work, arts, crafts, discussions, meetings and reviews.
At Grove Farm Woodland we feel we are well placed to offer a wide range of daytime activities/programmes to suit adults and young people or children who find it difficult to function in mainstream day care or education, especially where there are limited or no other outdoor services available. The project offers a service to small groups and so will be of real benefit to those who find large groups difficult to manage.
Our service specifically 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.
Clients will have the opportunity to gain skills and experience by working on many aspects of the farm. Activities can be structured in many ways that will encourage cooperation and social skills. Communication among participants and individuals will be positively affected by their interaction with nature providing opportunities for personal growth and enjoyment. Programmes will be 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 will 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.
All our work programmes will be individually tailored to the needs of each student and have the flexibility to evolve as student’s progress. The project is registered with ASDAN and Arts Awards we offer nationally recognised programmes and qualifications, where appropriate, to all of our students. These qualifications provide positive stepping-stones into further education and future employment.
ASDAN is a pioneering curriculum development organisation and awarding body, offering programmes and qualifications that explicitly provide skills for learning, skills for employment and for life.
There is convincing current evidence that connects regular contact with the natural environment to enhanced physical health and mental well being. This incorporates a variety of outdoor settings, from the open countryside, fields and forests, remote wild lands, parks and open spaces, allotments and gardens. This evidence has been widely reported recently and the key message emerging is that contact with these green spaces improves psychological health by reducing pre-existing stress levels, enhancing mood and offering both a ‘restorative environment’ and a protective effect from future stresses.
Specific benefits of horticultural therapy, green exercise and animal therapy-
Physical: increase range of motion, improve fine motor skills, tone under used muscles, improve coordination and balance, and increase muscular strength.
Mental: Increases independence, increase self-esteem and confidence, increase observation skills, provides choices and ability to use problem solving skills, encourages creativity, provides outlet for stress, anger, and emotions.
Social: opportunity to interact with others, commitment to a living thing, cooperation and team working skills, dealing with success and failure, provides an environment to learn and be inspired by others
What happens at Grove Farm Woodland
At Grove Farm Woodland we are able to give students an opportunity to learn and work in a quiet un-crowded environment, taking advantage of how much nature can teach us. The Project provides a very natural space for our students to create and grow things for themselves, undertake specific projects.
Our woods offer our students the opportunity to discover new interests and develop skills with staff using a non-confrontational and practical approach. We encourage literacy and numeracy in all tasks and areas of work. Our practical and positive approach can open doors in the future for those who demonstrate a stronger ability to learn and many students could be supported to move on to work placements in the community.
Physical activity and mental stimulation can help transform the way in which students expel their energies which might otherwise manifest as negative or anti-social behaviour. Individual student support needs are taken into consideration and students are all treated as individuals with their diversity celebrated.
Grove FarmWoodland has something special to offer people with challenging behaviours, young people who struggle in mainstream education and associated lack of confidence and/or have complex emotional needs. The experienced staff, work in partnership with the families and professionals, who are involved in our students’ lives, building positive relationships so as to ensure an optimal approach to the needs of our service users.
The three main service groups we feel would benefit most from working at the Project are:
Young Adults with learning difficulties/disabilities aged between 16 and 25.
The Project takes a proactive person-centred approach encouraging independent living and social skills development. This could include supporting independent travel and collecting from the local train station or bus stop. We would match stated agreed outcomes with reference to individual plans. The project offers bespoke programmes to aid students both through transition and independence whilst offering real work experience and vocational qualifications where appropriate.
Our service offers the following programmes for this group;
o Behaviour stabilization where challenging behaviour exits
o Encouraging interests in learning rural skills, care for livestock, growing vegetables
o Qualification pathways and programmes where appropriate.
o Programmes focusing on transition and independence support
Staff to service user ratio 1:4 or 1:3
Young people aged between 12 and 16 who are excluded or not accessing mainstream education.
The project would aim to support and re-engage the young people in structured valuable work where tangible achievements can be experienced. Vocational qualifications will be on offer and clear pathways back into education and into future skilled work will be designed based on each individual’s needs.
Our service offers the following programmes for this group
o Return to school programmes/short term programmes
o Preparation for employment
o Supporting placements of Children who are Looked After
o Continuing education for those for whom school is unsuitable
Staff to service user ratio 1:3 or 1:2
Young Adults with Mental Health difficulties.
Being part of this project could enhance well-being, allow for meaningful engagement and learn new skills. The opportunity to undertake vocational qualifications will be offered pointing service users on to further education and employment.
Our service offers the following programmes for this group
o Behaviour stabilization programmes
o Preparation for employment or return to work
o Qualification programmes where this is appropriate
o Bespoke programmes focusing on areas of need such as improving self-confidence and self-esteem, decisions making and physical health and fitness
Staff to service user ratio 1:4 or 1:3
Other service groups will always be considered and pricing can be discussed fully at referral. Days run from 9.30am to 3.30pm. Full and half day sessions available
Grove Farm Woodland offers people who come here the opportunity to do meaningful outdoor work in a supportive, therapeutic environment. They will learn new skills and will be helped to become prepared for being at work in a safe environment. Students will be led by one of our experienced staff throughout the day with a staffing ratio as appropriate dependent on need and risk assessment. Each day will run approx. from 9.30am to 3.30pm, with a level of flexibility available if require
How to use the Grove Farm
After completing a straight forward referral form and initial risk assessment professionals and individuals will be contacted by one of the staff team to discuss the referral and what kind of service could be offered. If we can meet the needs of the individual being referred, a visit to the project will be arranged. If all parties agree that the placement could be of benefit then an initial assessment period will be offered, usually of six sessions.
During the initial assessment period students will spend time getting to know the farm layout and routines, staff and other students who are using the service. Students will be able to sample all aspects of the project and will include an induction process which includes safety, hygiene and the correct use of equipment and tools.
If at the end of the assessment period the student is happy and is enjoying the service and is felt by all that it will be beneficial then an on-going service will be offered tailored to the specific needs of the student. They may prefer to focus and work on a particular aspect such as animal care and these personal preferences will be valued, however the rhythms of nature and the daily and seasonal tasks which are part of the farm will provide the basis for every student’s work programme. This package can then be reviewed on a regular basis. Project staff would contribute to ongoing planning for each student, attending meetings and appointments as necessary and providing written reports/records.
Clients will work alongside the staff and each other but will be encouraged to take on responsibilities and be part of the development of the project as it unfolds and grows. Work on the project will emphasise personal achievements, and could be focused on vocational qualifications giving students the opportunity to have a real sense of worth whilst engaging with the physical world of nature.
As the project is a registered Arts Awards, each student will have the opportunity to undertake an award or qualification tailored to his or her individual needs. Each student will leave the project with a portfolio to chart their involvement and learning including photographs, any written work, drawings, and certificates of achievements and evidence of all they have achieved whilst working at the project.