Care farming and its contribution to farming and the health and wellbeing of thousands of clients, was recognised in two categories at the prestigious Farmer’s Weekly Awards in London last Thursday.
Robin Asquith from The Hayshed in Commondale was runner-up in his category of Farm Manager of the Year.
In just two-and-a-half years, Robin, who is Farm Operations Manager, has boosted livestock productivity and trebled the number of care farming placements on this mixed hill farm – a fantastic achievement given that he is not from a farming family.
“Care Farming is a fantastic initiative and offers opportunities to many adults who would not otherwise have been given an opportunity”, said Robin.
“I believe care farming can become more widespread within the UK and hope that on the back of this nomination I can help promote the cause of care farms and help the industry prosper. I was shocked yet thrilled to be nominated by someone and get short-listed into the final three,” he added.
“We started the Care Farm in January 2015 and offer up to 50 spaces per week for adults with learning difficulties and/or special needs to engage with food and farming.”
The farm, which is a mixed unit running outdoor sows, a fold of highland cattle, a flock of breeding ewes in addition to poultry, horticultural enterprise and classroom offering Asdan qualifications.
Andrew Harter, Chairman of Care Farming UK, said, “It is extremely positive to see Farm Mangers and young people taking the initiative to develop the care farm model. There’s been growing recognition of this type of enterprise in the UK over the last ten years and it is very heartening to have it recognised by the mainstream farming industry through the Farmer’s Weekly Awards.”