Caring farms help vulnerable

Farm CARE, Mick Kay, Julia Cook of the Farming Life Centre and farmer Rachel Mycock.
Farm CARE, Mick Kay, Julia Cook of the Farming Life Centre and farmer Rachel Mycock.
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A DAY on the farm has proved a breath of fresh air for vulnerable people living in the High Peak.

NHS Derbyshire County has been working with the Farming Life Centre in Blackwell and the Growing Rural Enterprise Ltd on a project encouraging farmers to find out more about care farming, which involves farmers offering therapeutic day activities on farms for those with health or social care needs.

Three farms in the High Peak have been involved with the innovative scheme - Beardwood Farm in Furness Vale, New House Farm in Chapel-en-le-Frith and Holly House Farm in Flagg. And after a special Taste of Care Farming day was held at Holly House Farm in Flagg last Thursday, NHS Derbyshire County are now hoping even more follow in their footsteps - as the health benefits for farmers and patients are reciprocal.

Linda Syson-Nibbs, nurse consultant public health for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “Ever since the onset of the foot and mouth crisis farmers have had to contend with a succession of changes to farming practice, including stricter regulations around the movement of animals.

“This has completely changed the shape of their livelihoods, and left them feeling increasingly isolated, both economically and socially.

“Added to the economic downturn and significant financial hardship, this has left farmers at increased risk of a range of mental and physical health problems such as depression and anxiety. But the ‘care farms’ initiative enables them to generate additional income for the farm by giving vulnerable people a breath of fresh air while also promoting their own sense of self-worth.”