Pearl Cousins - Code Administrator - Pearl is no longer in post, although she is continuing to offer help and support whilst we recruit for our new Quality Mark Officer
My name is Pearl Cousins and I work at Social Farms & Gardens as the Code of Practice Administrator. I help to manage Code of Practice applications and am the main point of contact for applicants, those who have achieved the Code or those interested in finding out more. I also liaise with the panel of assessors who carry out the approval part of applications. I have been working at SF&G in this role since May 2019 and am feeling really encouraged that the awareness of care farming will expand and will continue to have an increasing presence in the care sector. My background is in environmental science and I have worked on a large variety of projects which take into account human, social and environmental receptors and I am really pleased to be working alongside those that want to link the social aspect with the environment. I think the Code (now the Quality Mark) is a great way of ensuring that care farms / other green organisations are delivering services to a uniform standard. It’s also a good way of allowing the care farm to think of how they run their practices and challenge themselves in ensuring that they deliver to the best of their ability. I have spoken with many care farms and am always impressed with how passionate they are in providing care services for their users. I hope that any potential care farmers reading this will page will be encouraged to find out more.
"I think the Code is a great way of ensuring that care farms and other green organisations are delivering services to a uniform standard."
Ab de Bree - QM reviewer
My name is Ab de Bree. I was introduced to Care Farming UK (now merged with Federation of City Farms and Gardens to become Social Farms & Gardens) in 2012, when I became involved with the CFUK Quality assurance work. Subsequently, I chaired the Quality Standards Working Group, which was responsible for the development of the Code of Practice. Ever since its inception, I have been carrying out Code of Practice assessments and now Quality Mark reviews. I am familiar with care farming, as I have managed farms for many years, providing training and work for people with learning difficulties. Working on the farm with machinery, sharp tools and livestock led me to obtain an IOSH Certificate in Health & Safety, as I was keen to learn how I could safely manage potentially hazardous work with people of varying abilities and with special needs. Later on, I moved from farming to working in Residential Care, initially as a Shared Lives Carer. During this time, I obtained a QCF Level 5 Certificate in Health & Social Care. In 2015 I started work as Care Manager and Safeguarding Officer for Ruskin Mill College in Gloucestershire, which caters for young people with special needs. In this position I am responsible for compliance with CQC Regulations and work with external agencies, legislation and policies & procedures on a daily basis. Having experienced the benefits of working on the land, I fully endorse SF&G's Vision and Mission, and feel privileged to be part of this growing organisation and its aim to promote quality and professionalism in care farming and green care.
"privileged to be part of this growing organisation and its aim to promote quality and professionalism in care farming."
Noelle Wilson - QM Reviewer
My name is Noelle Wilson and I am a retired Care Farmer. My 40 year career started as a Rural Science teacher, followed by five years running a 50-acre school farm and seven years as a lecturer in county agricultural colleges. I then started and ran a care farm for 17 years and finally helped run an organic market garden. I served as a board member for Care Farming UK and when the opportunity came to help develop a code of practice, I volunteered and was pleased to be accepted to serve on the steering committee and also to become an assessor. My experience as a care farmer, when my setting had to pass rigorous compliance procedures with the local authorities, have given me relevant knowledge and understanding of the standards required of care farmers. The Code of Practice (now the Green Care Quality Mark) is a valuable reference tool for those entering care farming and green care - success in obtaining it provides assurance that all legal and relevant areas have been thought about and actioned before attendees commence service. It also provides a way of raising standards within care farming and serves as a benchmark for care farms working with schools, social services, probation services and other commissioning agents.
"The Code of Practice is a valuable reference tool for those entering care farming"
Dr Rachael Fell-Chambers - QM Reviewer
My name is Rachael Fell-Chambers and I am a Director of Densholme Care Farm in East Yorkshire. Densholme Care Farm was established in 2009 and is a thriving care farm. I am mainly involved in strategic developments on the care farm with lead responsibility for policy, funding and safeguarding. I also work full-time as a Senior Lecturer in Childhood & Youth at Bishop Grosseteste University. Prior to joining the University I held a Senior Management post in a large Local Authority with lead responsibility for alternative curriculum provision. In my own time, I am a School Governor and a Trustee of the Make it Shine SEND Charity. I have recently completed a PhD at the University of Hull entitled 'Care Farming, Learning and Young People'. As a farmers daughter I have always been fanatical about the benefits of being in nature - and care farming is the icing on the cake for me! I am passionate that care farms thrive as an invaluable resource to society, and the Code of Practice (now the Quality Mark) enables us to not only showcase the brilliant work we do...it also provides a benchmark for all care farms and green care sites to adhere to.
"The Code of Practice enables us to not only showcase the brilliant work we do...it also provides a benchmark for all care farms to adhere to."
Ian Egginton-Metters - QM Reviewer
I am retired from my previous role as Assistant Director of Social Farms & Gardens. I had prior experience of care farming and have been involved at a UK level since organising the first care farming conference (2005) and the partnership of organisations that supported the creation of Care Farming UK (now merged with Federation of City Farms and Gardens to become Social Farms & Gardens), and served on its Board throughout. I also co-organised the gathering of care farmers which led to the formation of a Quality Standards Working Group and the Code of Practice, and I remain involved in the development of the Code. Demonstrating the quality of care farms in their management and service delivery is crucial to broader and increased acceptance by commissioners, and to relatives responsible for the care of individual beneficiaries. It is a credit to experienced care farmers that the Code (now the Quality Mark) has evolved and is increasingly being recognised as a standard that every care farm should be able to demonstrate they meet.
"It is a credit to experienced care farmers that the Code has evolved and is increasingly being recognised as a standard that every care farm should be able to demonstrate they meet."
Keily Elvin - QM Reviewer
My name is Keily Elvin and I work at Elm Tree Farm in Bristol where I am the care farm manager. In my spare time away from running this busy, vibrant care farm I also assess applications for the care farming Code of Practice. I have worked as a care farmer since 2004 when I started teaching and assessing horticulture and conservation skills to adults with learning disabilities. I immediately fell in love with the role because of the beautiful natural environment I worked in, the people supported and the fabulous team of people I worked with. Since then I have learnt many new skills, from tractor driving to splitting kindling and apple pressing. I still feel the same passion for my job nearly 16 years later. Back in 2014 I became aware of the countryside educational visits accreditation scheme (CEVAS) and took this course to find out if there was anything I could do to improve the service we were providing. My tutor, Noelle Wilson, introduced me to the care farming Code of Practice. I submitted a successful application and we became an accredited care farm soon after. It was not long before I was eagerly attending regular Code of Practice updates and volunteering to assess future applicants. I have always believed that a job worth doing is worth doing right, and that the Code of Practice provides a framework that sets the standards for the care farming industry. Quality Assurance should be part of the culture of every care farm, and the Code of Practice (now the Quality Mark) provides the foundation to support and promote high standards from the ground up.
"Quality Assurance should be part of the culture of every care farm, and the Code of Practice provides the foundation to support and promote high standards from the ground up."