Project to help refugee families enjoy and learn about British countryside forges new partnership

01 Oct 2018

blog image

 

Refugee Action Bradford and the Country Trust were brought together by Enable2 on this important social return project to help refugee families take a break from their stresses and learn more about the British countryside.

Helen Hoyle, Social Return Manager at Enable2 explains the original idea behind the initiative:

“Our aim was to take new arrivals, refugees and asylum seeker families on farming day trips to give them a break from their worries and stresses. We wanted to be able to offer them a sociable day out to enjoy in the country with fresh air and fun; whilst along the way learning a little about the UK countryside, our working farms and where our food comes from.”

 

A total of forty-one children and nineteen parents were taken on farm day trips from February until June of 2018. The feedback from everyone was nothing but positive. One little boy even overcame his fear of dogs, “I loved the dogs. These ones were so friendly, I wasn’t scared.” One of the mothers said she felt, “calm again being able to breathe the fresh air”. The families gained substantial benefit not only from the opportunity to socialise with other families, but from being supported, seeing their children have fun and learning more about UK food and farming.

“This was so nice for my children. They would be sitting at home all day with nothing to do. This is so good. Thank you,” said one parent.

Christy Bischoff, Children and Families Project Manager at Refugee Action in Bradford explains how a break away from the city can really help those who would otherwise have very little opportunity to visit anywhere outside of Bradford:

“Children often must wait for a school place, sometimes many months. This creates significant stress on the family in an already stressful time. Through the generous support of Enable2 and the Country Trust, we were able to offer these children and their parents days out which allowed them to spend positive time together as well as learn something of the English countryside. The knowledge of the Country Trust leaders was a real bonus for the families too to be able to see a real working farm in England.”

With the positive effect on wellbeing so clearly in evidence, more social return investment in days on the farm are planned as Enable2 starts work with further partners who support refugees and asylum seekers.

The Country Trust too, since working with Enable2 and being supported to work with this client group, are now going on to develop their work, bringing respite and support to those families in need.

Lee Holmes MBE from the Country Trust explains how Enable2’s support has opened up new opportunities for them to help more people:

“We start another round of visits with the Refugee Action Group funded by Children In Need and secured funding for further visits covering the Bradford area working with vulnerable and disabled children from North Yorkshire. Without Enable2’s initial offer to support The Country Trust we would not have gone down the avenue of working with families, disabled groups or refugees so a massive thank you for allowing us to diversify. I hope that our joint work continues well into the future.”