Our programme of regional engagement
Care farming in one capacity or another has been happening in the UK over many years and Social Farms & Gardens (formerly Care Farming UK) have a long history of bringing practitioners together to network, share experiences, provide peer support and, crucially, raise awareness of care farming in their own areas. This has led to some great relationships being built up, both between farms, land managers and commissioners, but also between care farmers and green care providers themselves. Through our programme of Regional Engagement in the Growing Care Farming work, we are determined to continue building on this important networking and shared learning.
A key part of our regional engagement work will be understanding what works and what doesn’t in each area, building a picture of the sector across the whole country and sharing within each region and across other regions to increase the spread of care farming. By gaining a clearer understanding of commissioning and referral pathways, scale, demand and supply, we can help regions to fill gaps strategically rather than duplicate services. We will work with the sector to promote care farming and to build networks so that existing care farmers can both support each other, work more closely with referrers and support those wishing to start up care farms or expand their services.
Three Regional Support Officers will help to support this work in the regions: Northern RSO (covering Yorkshire & Humberside, the North East and North West), Central RSO (covering West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England) and the Southern RSO (covering London, South East and South West). The RSOs will be working in the regions, promoting care farming in their areas and will also be organising networking meetings and events alongside the Care Farming Facilitators.
Ultimately, our regional engagement approach is about bringing people together, enabling networking and local responses to local needs.
Regional engagement activities
We will be running a ‘Going Live’ event to launch the work in each region as we roll out across England - where we will share information on care farming in the locality, we will hear feedback and ideas from those on the ground and give people opportunities to get involved in the future. We will run regular networking events in the region, as well as running face to face training together with our partners at Thrive. We will also be organising some targetted events including: Awareness events for commissioners and prospective care farmers; shadowing days for prospective care farmers; and care farming Code of Practice workshops for existing care farmers and those working through the Code.