Care farms work, says study

MORE needs to be done to raise awareness of care farms and the range of valuable services they offer, according to an Essex academic and care farming expert.

Rachel Bragg, a member of the Green Exercise Research Team at the University of Essex, has carried out research into numbers and types of care farms and on the health benefits for people using them.

“Care farmers all over the UK and Europe provide many services in a safe, farming environment for people with a range of medical, social, physical and mental health needs,” she said.

“Care farms offer specialist services and meaningful activities to suit specific requirements and it is this kind of personalised care that more people need to hear about.”

Ms Bragg will be discussing her study into care farming in the UK at next month’s National Care Farming Conference in London. She will highlight key successes of the care farming movement and explain some of the challenges it faces.

The data indicates care farming improves well-being, develops skills, reduces isolation and can increase employability for vulnerable people. But she feels more research needs to be done and the information shared with policy-makers.

Care farms will be recognised and celebrated at the conference, together with highlighting current issues facing the profession.

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Gaynor Tate, Executive Officer of Care Farming UK, said: “This will also be a great opportunity to allow care farmers from across the UK to meet and network and also for those who are interested in starting up to find out more about how to go about it.”

The National Care Farming Conference will take place on Monday, November 19. For more details, visit: www.carefarminguk.org.