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All for a good cause

Some of you might be aware of the Scrubditch Farm Care Project. Run by Emma Costley-White and located at North Cerney, just outside Cirencester, it offers adults with learning difficulties the chance to grow crops and look after animals.

Emma developed the idea when her own daughter, who has special needs, was looking for somewhere to acquire new skills. ‘Care farming’, as it’s known, provides therapeutic benefits to those with learning difficulties, young offenders, recovering addicts or other challenging behaviour, through horticultural and agricultural activity. There are now several hundred such farms in the UK, and many now have recognised programmes in place to provide participants with valuable vocational qualifications.

We were introduced to Scrubditch last year, when Emma was looking for some pigs for her students to raise and look after. Wishing to support the project, we took a leaf out of the supermarkets’ marketing strategy and offered her a ‘buy one get one free’! Thus two of our Oxford Sandy and Black piglets headed down the road to North Cerney, where they eventually provided (by all accounts) some very tasty pork and sausages!

It was natural, therefore, to think of Scrubditch when we realised over winter this year that, owing to the poor grass situation, we would need to reduce the numbers of our in-lamb flock. As luck would have it, Emma was looking to increase ewe numbers in their nucleus flock of Wiltshire Horns; we were more than happy to support the project again with a special offer to Emma.

So today, five of our 2010-born ewes (the ‘purple tags’) were selected by Emma and Ella to join the Scrubditch flock. All went without incident until their Land Rover got stuck in the field with a loaded trailer and had to be pulled out!

Apparently they’re settling in well; meanwhile, our remaining ewes will have fewer fights over the remaining blades of grass…

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