Friday, 13 January 2012

Helpful Holidays supports Farms for City Children…

We’re lucky enough to live and work in glorious Devon and many of our customers enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life to spend time in the beautiful West Country. We sincerely believe just being in the countryside is good for you. With that in mind, Helpful Holidays has again chosen to support Farms for City Children as its charity of the year. 

Farms for City Children was founded by children’s author Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare at Nethercott Farm in Devon in 1976. 

The charity’s aim is to enrich the lives of children from urban areas, who may not know where their food comes from and have limited opportunities to get up close to animals, by giving them the chance to spend a week living and working on a real farm in the heart of the countryside. 

It’s an intense, ‘learning through doing’ experience of a different life and 75,000 children have taken part since it started.

The charity now has three working farms, including Nethercott, a huge Victorian manor house with beautiful grounds and amazing views towards Dartmoor. Whilst very full during term time, its house (sleeps 48) is available to our holidaymakers in the school holidays.

The three farms offer a warm, friendly environment, plentiful home cooking and comfortable accommodation, including classroom, library, quiet room and games room. 

The jobs on the farm are rotated so that everyone gets at least two goes at  activities such as feeding livestock, mucking out, grooming horses and donkeys, assisting at milking time and tending the kitchen gardens – as well as more seasonal tasks like apple-pressing and lambing! The children learn about the food chain, caring for animals and the land and the importance of teamwork; the overall experience has a heart-warming impact on their self-esteem and outlook on life.

You may have heard a lot about Michael Morpurgo recently - his book ‘War Horse’ has been the inspiration for both a successful West End play and a soon-to-be-released film directed by Steven Spielberg (filmed in part on Dartmoor). 
Morpurgo describes his own inspiration for the story when a young boy with a stammer visited Nethercott in 1978, and befriended a horse on the farm:
“He was talking to the horse, one to one, about what he had done on the farm that day. No stutter – words flowing out of him. I summoned his teachers and we hid in the vegetable garden to watch them. I was very, very moved. 
"The boy wasn't being judged or mocked. He trusted this creature. The horse wasn't understanding, but was listening. She knew she must not move away. She must stand there – because that is what friends do."

We hope you'll help us spread the word about this wonderful charity and the excellent work it does. We'll keep you updated on news from the farms and our fundraising efforts during 2012. 

If you’d like to make a donation, visit at any time or you can also make a contribution when you book a holiday through Helpful Holidays.