Working With Providence House
Providence House working in partnership with The Shallowford Trust East Shallowford is a working moorland farm, just 2 miles from Widecombe-in-the-Moor and is set in the middle of Dartmoor in beautiful surroundings. The farm covers over 50 acres of land including a river and woodland. For many years the farm has been hosts to hundreds of groups of inner city young people and families, many coming from needy urban housing projects. The Shallowford Trust is a registered charity (charity number: 1105186).
Providence House Youth and Community Centre, Battersea, south west London, works in partnership with The Shallowford Trust. Both the work at Providence House and at East Shallowford were founded by Elizabeth Braund MBE and Rosemary Bird MBE. For over forty years these projects have been engaging with people of all ages, especially the young, as they seek to make sense of the world around them and to discover their own true selves in order to make their own distinctive contribution to society. Providence House organises a rolling programme to East Shallowford for young people and families of educational and outward bound visits, taking small groups of young people, and family groups, to stay at and take part in the life of East Shallowford Farm, Widecombe, Devon. The programme provides opportunities for physical challenge and an introduction to new interests as they discover an area full of ecological, historical and natural interest. East Shallowford Farm is a working farm, with sheep, cattle, pigs, ponies, chickens, geese and their young. Young people are involved in all that has to be done to care for the animals and their young, from feeding and watering, to cleaning out stables, and in more specific projects, according to the season.
The visits to the farm provide many opportunities for new learning and new experiences. The young people may live in concrete housing estates without a view, but from the farm they have weighed the lambs, witnessed the birth of calves, rebuilt dry stone walls, learned to take responsibility for animals, and become part of an ongoing working community. Each time a young person returns another step forward is taken.
The farm visits provide excellent opportunities for challenging activities. Activities may include mountain biking and horse riding, camping and discovery walks. Groups visit towns and villages, and hidden places of interest. Working parties are taught carpentry and building skills, basic coppicing and gardening
The residential visits to East Shallowford Farm have been highly productive in personal development and leadership training with young people involved in group planning and consultation, and beginning to think about themselves and where their lives are going. Over and again young people, and adults remembering their time at the farm testify to the way their visits have enriched their lives