Barry the pig

Round & About

Farm

Barry the pig needs your help – his home is flooded and he can’t swim!

He lives with dogs, cats, sheep, alpacas, ponies, parrots and tortoises at the Berkshire branch of the National Animal Welfare Trust at Trindledown Farm, in Great Shefford, near Hungerford.

The ten-acre site is a rescue and rehoming centre specialising in the care of elderly animals and needs your help to stay open after being hit by flooding.

Barry hates water and the branch has launched a Just Giving campaign called Barry Can’t Swim with the aim of raising £5,000 to build ditches along the boundary to enable the flood water to drain away naturally into the flood alleviation stream further down in the village.

The centre is totally self-funded and receives no help from anywhere except its fundraising activities and relies on being open to the public for events as well as the income from the café and onsite charity shop.

Ellie Humphreys works for the charity and says: “We are flooded and on the verge of having to close the centre to the public until the water subsides.

“The rehoming of animals does not cover the cost of vets bills, accommodation or maintenance of the 20-year-old farm.

“Not only is this impacting on our funds, all of our field animals have been put on higher ground which is not ideal for elderly animals and their joints.”

And it’s far from ideal for Barry in particular. He lives with a sheep called Bjork who has special needs and was rejected by the other sheep, but now their area is becoming inaccessible.

Ellie adds: “The last time we flooded was 2014 where our fields were out of action for three months.

“Unfortunately we are in the Lambourn Valley so we receive the overflow of water from the higher ground which then runs through half our grazing land, our dog exercise areas and our car parking field.”

Not having the fields also means they cannot rotate the field animals to eat the grass so the centre is forced to buy hay and feed adding to the costs.

Help Barry

The Just Giving campaign aims to raise £5,000 to pay for the ditch work, to help click below

Field day!

Round & About

Farm

Five educational benifits of visiting a farm

• Sensory Development – toddlers discover and learn about their world through the five senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight. What better place to awaken all of these than a farm? Stroking animals teach children about what different textures feel like. Do they prefer the soft touch of a rabbit compared to the wiry texture of a sheep? A farm is also the perfect place to develop the skill of listening. All of the baas, moos, oinks and neighs will help children identify the animals’ unique sounds. And there is no need to mention how smelly farms can be…

• Motor Skill Development – motor skills are constantly being developed through a toddler’s life. Motor skills are simply anything that uses their muscles. Gross motor skills involve large movements such as running across the field to greet a cow, or climbing up on a haybale. Fine motor skills are small movements such as holding a brush to groom a horse, or picking a blade of grass to feed the goats.

• Language Development – this is the process by which a toddler learns to understand and communicate. Now, the animals may not be able to talk back but children love to chat away to them and perhaps because they can’t respond the children fill the silence happily with even more chatter. And what a great place to learn lots of new words – it isn’t every day that you would need to use the words ‘combine harvester’.

• Empathy – toddlers begin to develop the ability to understand and share the feelings of others and this isn’t limited to other humans. Asking children questions such as, “Do you think the sheep likes being stroked?” and “Do you think the rabbit is hungry?” will help children consider their feelings.

• Food Production – it is more relevant than ever that children start understanding where food comes from. Learning that the lovely soft, feathery chickens produce eggs and that pulling on the tuft of green leaves will pull out a carrot is a great starting point. But why stop at the farm? Why not create a vegetable patch at home, or start with something more simple such as growing cress in a pot. The possibilities are endless!

With all of these benefits to be gained why not join Highfield and Brookham Schools on Friday 27th September, from 10am – 12pm, for their free hands-on educational farm experience morning for children aged 2+? They have teamed up with Mill Cottage Farm in Alton to bring all of these benefits to your child for free!

Sophie Baber, Head of Brookham School, says “Farms are magical places for little eyes and hands, and act as educational playgrounds for young minds. We are delighted to invite children aged 2+ to the farm as it is a great opportunity for them to learn about and interact with a variety of friendly farm animals, as well as the countryside and nature. Children will have the chance to stroke and brush the animals, aiding their sensory development, and to identify the animals, which can help encourage language development. We look forward to welcoming you to Brookham.”

Book your free place at highfieldandbrookham.co.uk/farm-visit

About Highfield and Brookham Schools:

• Highfield and Brookham Schools are in Liphook on the edge of the Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex borders. They can be found nestled in the South Downs National Park off Highfield Lane.

• They are a nursery, pre-prep and prep school for children aged 3 -13.

• Optional boarding is available for children from Year 4.

• Facilities include a newly refurbished nursery, Forest School complete with a tree house, on-site swimming pool and 175 acres of grounds.

• Specialist teaching in PE, Modern Languages, Music and Forest School.

Highfield & Brookham

For any further information, please contact Charlotte Green on