Care farming

Care farming

Care farming

Introduction

The care farm sector currently offers over 1 million care places in England and the number of care farms offering therapeutic farming support is growing year on year. Yet the sector is largely unregulated, with the risk that service provision could vary dramatically across the country if standard guidelines around governance and risk management are not put in place.

2022 Award

Mary Smith (CF 2019) is the CEO of Growing Well, a charity based in the north of England which offers therapeutic farming services across its different sites to support good mental health for local residents. Over the past five years working in this field, Mary has witnessed unsustainable practices across the sector which have not been backed up by evidence, meaning that those experiencing agonising mental health problems are not always being supported as best as they could. Whilst some guidance and training does exist, it does not cover a number of critical issues around governance and risk management, and it is not compulsory for those wishing to set up a care farm.

Mary has been awarded one of our Activate grants to collaborate with the nation’s leading experts and co-design a formal delivery framework for mental health care farms in the UK. This framework will standardise the governance and rigour of practice in care farm settings and will set it apart from the proliferation of other nature-based activities that are emerging in this field. Mary will work with the nation’s leading academic in care farming, Dr Rachel Bragg OBE, to develop a theory of change for mental health care farms in the UK, exploring the many different approaches to therapeutic support across the sector, highlighting best practice and developing an outcomes framework. They will analyse existing training provision and identify gaps that still exist; develop impact and evaluation measures and a bespoke training programme for staff working in this field; and create a code of practice covering minimum standards, supporting resources and policy. They will then trademark and licence this piece of work for wider dissemination across the sector.

Mary hopes the development of this framework will bring reputable rigour to service delivery in care farms across the UK, with measurable outcomes that will lead to more funding opportunities and improved care for participants.

Mary’s Fellowship explore international best practice in care farming.

2022 Award

Mary Smith (CF 2019) is the CEO of Growing Well, a charity based in the north of England which offers therapeutic farming services across its different sites to support good mental health for local residents. Over the past five years working in this field, Mary has witnessed unsustainable practices across the sector which have not been backed up by evidence, meaning that those experiencing agonising mental health problems are not always being supported as best as they could. Whilst some guidance and training does exist, it does not cover a number of critical issues around governance and risk management, and it is not compulsory for those wishing to set up a care farm.

Mary has been awarded one of our Activate grants to collaborate with the nation’s leading experts and co-design a formal delivery framework for mental health care farms in the UK. This framework will standardise the governance and rigour of practice in care farm settings and will set it apart from the proliferation of other nature-based activities that are emerging in this field. Mary will work with the nation’s leading academic in care farming, Dr Rachel Bragg OBE, to develop a theory of change for mental health care farms in the UK, exploring the many different approaches to therapeutic support across the sector, highlighting best practice and developing an outcomes framework. They will analyse existing training provision and identify gaps that still exist; develop impact and evaluation measures and a bespoke training programme for staff working in this field; and create a code of practice covering minimum standards, supporting resources and policy. They will then trademark and licence this piece of work for wider dissemination across the sector.

Mary hopes the development of this framework will bring reputable rigour to service delivery in care farms across the UK, with measurable outcomes that will lead to more funding opportunities and improved care for participants.

Mary’s Fellowship explore international best practice in care farming.