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"We all learnt a great deal about Farming - it helped the children to understand the idea of Farming more. A real hands on experience!"

By Reading School Year 4 teacher

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August 2017

August 2017

12 Sep 2017

Several years ago, I wrote about a lad from the Willink who was sent to us to help him through a difficult time at school.  He was very small, with grandparents who were looking after him and his elder sister because both parents were unable to cope with life.  I always looked forward to him coming as his grandmother supplied him with lots of food to encourage him to eat.  He refused, and quietly distributed his lunch of chocolate bars and wraps as we gathered together around the kitchen table.  Then one day he was no longer there, but had graduated to a more robust regime in Reading.  I missed the chicken wraps and the snacks, and him.

Recently we enjoyed a glorious summers evening at Rushall Manor with staff and Trustees basking in sunshine and satisfaction.  A school camp was in progress and the deputy head from Christ the King in Whitley briefly described the enormous benefits their children gained when coming to the countryside, as most of whom were from challenging home lives. Simply running through a meadow and being free to explore the woods was so new to them.  Although clearly suffering from sleep deprivation, she especially emphasised how four autistic children had blossomed in this strange new environment.

At the end of the meeting one of our Trustees mentioned finding some work for a lad who was in difficulties.  I reminded him that I was retired but the following morning received a phone call, unconnected, concerning a seventeen year old lad living in a one bedroom flat in Calcot who had to be placed in work.  He had remembered the farm and where it was, and his experiences, and asked to work here.  Until recently he had been in a series of foster placements in Wales and the north of England.  I started my defence that I was retired but then remembered the chicken wraps and chocolate biscuits. Sixteen hours a week for four weeks, it’s not that demanding? He starts tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock.

“When Jesus saw the crowd, He had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9 vs 36”

John Bishop