Jamie Feilden joins Purposely Podcast to share his founder story about Jamie's Farm
Jamie’s Farm was set up to provide a life changing rural experience for disadvantaged inner-city children and young people.
You will hear how the initial spark for the charity came when Jamie Feilden was teaching in the first cohort of Teach First participants in a inner-city south London (UK) comprehensive.
Shocked by the battleground the school had become stemming from poor behaviour and a lack of engagement, he initially brought lambs from his own farm in Wiltshire and set up animal pens in the school playground, charging his pupils with the job of looking after them; he observed that it was frequently the children who struggled most to focus and maintain positive relationships in school who benefited most from the responsibility and nurture needed to tend to these animals. At this point, he came up with the idea of taking pupils back to his home farm in Wiltshire.
Using his own farming experience and the 30 years’ worth of experience that Tish, Jamie’s mother, had built up as a psychotherapist, they developed an approach based on Farming, Family and Therapy and piloted weeklong visits through the family home. From day one Jamie was determined that the farm would not be a ‘petting zoo’ but that there would be real jobs with a real purpose. When combined with the therapeutic methodology that Tish devised and the essence of a loving, family framework of support, a powerful intervention was born. From the very first week, they witnessed the profound impact that this combination could have on disengaged teenagers. Thirty-five pilot weeks were run through the family home, before the need for a purposely-converted farm became apparent.
Farming, Family and Therapy, delivered via a five-day residential and follow-up programme, aims to addresses the root causes of exclusion by equipping vulnerable children to thrive during their secondary school years.