More social farms planned
USING farms to improve the health of vulnerable children and adults will soon become more common in the Highlands.
‘Social farms’ are used to provide rehabilitation, therapy and education through rearing livestock, crop production and rural crafts and NHS Highland is working to increase their availability in the region. It is thought these farms and crofts improve the lives of mental health patients, autism sufferers and children with learning disabilities.
John Ross, chairman of Care Farming Scotland, said he is looking forward to working with NHS Highland: ‘I hope to see increasing numbers of social farms and crofts developing in the near future. It would be great to see social farming as a mainstream social service in Scotland, just as it is in countries such as Norway and the Netherlands.’
Caroline Matheson runs a social farm and encourages others to do the same. She said: ‘Social farming helps make a difference to disadvantaged people’s lives by giving them an opportunity to work on the land and land-based activities. It combines care of the land with care of people by helping them to become fitter, gain confidence, learn new skills and be part of a team.’