Carlshead Farm

We talked to Gareth Gaunt from Carlshead Farm about their work and Care Farming.

Describe Carlshead Farm in a paragraph
Carlshead is a not for profit organisation based in 540 acres on a farm land estate. We have woods, ponds, horses, sheep, cattle, alpacas as well as indoor and outdoor classrooms. We combine the care of land and animals with the care of people. We offer the opportunity for disadvantaged people to do meaningful work on the farm in a supportive, therapeutic environment. We place strong emphasis on personal development for the people that come to us.

What is the background of Carslhead?
Carlshead Care Farm was founded in 2004. I invested a lot of money into the site to build appropriate facilities including a kitchen, classrooms and accessible toilets. The farm itself is my families and we have been farming here for three generations. The Care Farm is a separated business from the rest of the Farm. I set up the Care Farm because I believe that farming has the power to transform people and communities. Historically farms were at the centre of communities and provided employment for all kinds of people including the unskilled. The focus in farming more recently has been on mass food production, which takes away many of the social benefits of farming and takes farming out of communities.

What services do you provide?
We have a range of programmes designed to improve peoples health and wellbeing from bee keeping and fishing to horticulture and bush crafts. Also based here on the farm are Learning to Listen a programme supporting children with autism by introducing them to horses. We run Summer Camps which offer a activities for the whole family.

Who is on the team? (staff and volunteers)
It’s a small team. My wife and I work for Carlshead and also on the farm there’s Sarah Kreutzer who manages and runs Learning to Listen and Phil Pemberton who is a bushcraft and survival expert. At the moment we are not using any volunteers.

What is the best thing about your job?
I have really enjoyed he freedom that our contract with Adult Social Care has given us. The opportunity has been fantastic. Two days a week we have adults with learning disabilities on the farm and they get to experience a wide range of activities from cooking and meal-planning to fishing in our ponds and collecting eggs from the chickens.

What is the most challenging thing about your job??
The finances. Finding money to keep all the balls we are juggling in the air is a huge challenge.

If you had a super-power what would it be and why?
The power of Care Farm marketing. I believe in changing the world through Care Farming, I would love for people to see for themselves the difference we can make – it would be a joy. I need this power because I have not got a marketing background or a marketing budget!

If you could give someone you know an award, who would it be and why would they deserve it??The team for sticking with me and with it through thick and thin.


July 2012