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Job description

Welcome from the Chair of Trustees at Farms for City Children

Are you looking for a role in which you can make a real difference? Do you care about connecting young people to the natural world, to food, and to farming? Due to the retirement of long-standing Trustees, we are looking to recruit up to four new trustees with diverse experience to bring a fresh perspective and skill set to our Board of Trustees. We particularly welcome applications from individuals with first-hand or indirect experience in charity law & governance, fundraising and/or event management, marketing, and farming. We are also keen to bring to our Board an educational expert with a focus on outdoor education, who can help shape our offering with the requirements of the UK’s national curriculum.  Equally, we would love to hear from any interested candidate who has the time, energy, and enthusiasm to commit to our extremely worthwhile cause, whatever their expertise.

Each of our three heritage farms is run and managed by a fantastic team of farm-based staff, executive team, and volunteers, committed to creating a week of “muck and magic” for every person that visits: children, young people, teachers, and group leaders alike. Working alongside our dedicated partner farmers, these amazing teams make the charity what it is today - an inspiring charity whose vision is of a world where all young people benefit from being connected to food, farming, and the natural world – where access to the countryside is accepted as a right, and not a privilege. You can find out more about us by visiting our website.

You would be joining a Board that is passionate about moving the charity forward into its next 50-years of operation, delivering an immersive, life-changing, educational experience to our beneficiaries.  Your expertise will help drive forward our new strategic business plan, developed in partnership with our staff, trustees, beneficiaries, and external stakeholders, that will determine the direction of the charity for the coming years. It is a stimulating, challenging, and rewarding environment for dedicated trustees and a great time to join our charity to support us on this journey.

The Board meets a minimum of four times per year.  Three of the meetings are held on-site at one of the charity’s three farms’ premises: Nethercott in Iddesleigh, mid-Devon; Wick Court in Gloucestershire; and St David’s in Pembrokeshire, Wales. There may well be other meetings, either held on-line or in person, depending on specific needs. In addition to Board meetings, we encourage Trustees to participate in fundraising and social events throughout the calendar year.

As part of our strategic aims, Farms for City Children is committed to promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion, and supports and encourages under-represented and under-served groups. We welcome applications from anyone regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, heritage, gender, sexuality, religion, socio-economic background, or any other difference.

Farms for City Children is, and must be, unconditionally committed to safeguarding best practice and promoting the welfare of children and young people, and we expect all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Consequently, successful candidates will be subject to a Social Media check and a DBS check at the appropriate level in line with our commitment to Safer Recruitment.

Whether you are experienced or taking your first step as a Trustee, we would love to hear from you.  You will have the opportunity to use your skills, passion, and commitment to help shape the future of our charity.

This is a voluntary role with all reasonable expenses reimbursed.

Rachel Goult, Chair of Trustees

About Farms for City Children

Farms for City Children transforms the lives of children and young people through an immersive, residential farm experience.

Farms for City Children is a vibrant charity that delivers learning and well-being impact to children and young people from cities and disadvantaged communities through the experience of working together on our farms in the heart of the British countryside. Since our foundation in 1976, we have welcomed children, typically school groups between the ages of 8 and 11 years old, to spend a week on one of our three heritage working farms located in Pembrokeshire, Devon, and Gloucestershire. In the last five decades we have welcomed over 100,000 children and our current commitment to working with young people up to the age of 18 has seen us support 3,288 children and 620 adult beneficiaries in 2022/23 alone. Our commitment to reaching the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people means that almost half of all visits to the farms came from children living in the top 20% most deprived communities in England and Wales.

In the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the work of Farms for City Children has assumed a new significance. So many children and young people, especially those in urban areas, suffered badly during lockdowns, facing sustained periods of social isolation, with over-reliance on screens and digital relationships causing an increase in mental health and anxiety issues. The sanctuary of farm life, and the therapeutic value of the natural environment and of work with animals, is well documented. Farms for City Children has responded by opening our farms for more weeks in the year and extending the age group of its beneficiaries to 18. Partnerships have been made with new beneficiary groups, including the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, and with community groups catering for older children and young people. The charity is now acting as an essential antidote to the negative effects of the Pandemic on children and young people. The charity subsidises up to 60% of the costs of the residential to ensure that schools and groups where the need is greatest are able to be included and access our offer.

Visiting children and young people are immersed in the natural world of food, farming, and countryside life, experiencing the benefits of collaboration, enjoying plenty of physical activity, good food, and fresh air, and discovering the magical rural environment that is full of new words, sounds, and experiences to inspire their creativity. All our beneficiaries participate in the seasonal tasks of the day: sowing, growing, and harvesting in our kitchen gardens; caring for livestock and looking after the land; and cooking up a home-grown feast in the farmhouse kitchen. They are never patronised by being given ‘pretend’ tasks: working alongside our staff and partner farmers, they perform the essential tasks that farming entails.  They gain valuable life-changing skills that foster children’s independence and help them to grow in confidence. They learn teamwork, resilience, , and awareness that there is life beyond mobile phones and social media, and teachers highlight sustained changes to behaviour  on the return to the classroom. Furthermore, they learn where food comes from, having experienced for themselves the field > farm > fork  journey – hopefully, a pointer towards healthier eating, a breaking down of barriers between the urban and farming populations, and perhaps even an inspiration for some of the children to consider careers in agriculture themselves in the future.

Application resources
More about Farms for City Children

‘Almost 100,000 children have been to one of our farms. But it should be millions. It’s a week that builds their self-confidenc...

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Posted on: 09 December 2023
Closing date: 19 January 2024 at 23:59
Tags: Trustees

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