Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie recently visited Scrubditch Care Farm – where she volunteered before becoming an MP – to hear more about the charity’s latest work.
The farm, near Cirencester, helps young people and adults with learning disabilities, challenging behaviour and mental health issues from all over Gloucestershire, including Stroud, and is open again after lockdown.
Ms Baillie, who volunteered at the farm for two years, recently met up with her friend and the farm’s manager Gerry Fouracres, who also recently had a baby.
Scrubditch provides farming-based activities and the students help to run the farm, feed the animals, collect the eggs, care for the hens, ducks, pigs, sheep and the horses.
They also get involved with a variety of other activities too including growing vegetables, fruit and flowers, cooking and learning basic woodworking skills.
Stroud’s MP said: “It was so lovely to be back on the farm again and catch up with what is happening and how the charity is progressing in these difficult times. I have missed the team, students and animals as my time on the farm was incredibly rewarding.
“Undertaking the meaningful tasks with the students also helped my mental health as much as I was there to help them.
“As a result of my experiences at Scrubditch, I am a big supporter of social prescribing, green prescribing and policies to encourage people to get outside for their health and mental health.
“To that end, it was great to hear the Defra secretary’s recent announcement of a £4 million investment for green social prescribing pilots.”
Emma Costley-White, who started Scrubditch care farm in 2010, added: “Everyone was so pleased to see Gerry and Siobhan with their new babies when they came to visit. The students are often isolated in their lives and have found lockdown especially difficult. They are delighted to be back at the care farm, in a routine, seeing their friends and the animals whilst also getting plenty of fresh air and exercise in a great boost to their mental and physical health.”