More so­cial farms planned

The Oban Times - - News -

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.’

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