For over a decade we have used farming and the countryside to provide effective solutions to health and social problems.
Our work aims to re-engage young people with learning when they are at risk of exclusion, non-attendance or poor mental health. We also aim to enhance the well-being of adults and older people when they are isolated or have long term illness.
“I have a Dream” moment
The idea of Future Roots was founded by Julie Plumley in 2006. She grew up on a dairy farm in Dorset, and qualified as a social worker in 1998 and felt that the young people she was helping through troubled times would benefit from learning & development in a farm environment.
In 2008 she made this vision into reality by setting up Future Roots based at Rylands Farm. The goal is clear: to build the wellbeing and resilience of everyone who takes part in the programmes and to help them progress and achieve their potential. The idea of resilience, to bounce back from adversity in a positive way, underpins all of the activities and enables Future Roots to be effective in their goal.
Today we deliver our services at two sites in Dorset: Rylands Farm and Whitfield. Both sites can accommodate wheelchair users, but if personal care is required then an individual carer will be required.
The staff are all level 3 qualified in different aspects of care learning or therapeutic interventions and have extensive experience of working with young people who have poor social, emotional & behavioural traits
Rylands Farm is a 30-acre livestock farm near Sherborne in Dorset. At Rylands we breed pedigree Simmental cattle and we also have goats, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, chickens, ducks and some unusual breeds of pig. The site offers animal-assisted therapy and most of our accredited vocational programmes, but we also do some horticulture, building skills and craft providing courses for all ages & abilities.
We have two broad groups of young people (aged 8-18 years) who come to us: Future Farmers are young people who may be struggling to find their way in mainstream education and may have been told they have behavioural, social or emotional challenges. During their time here we explore how they can move forward and make positive choices.
Field to Fork groups or 1:1 sessions are for young people who may have more complex needs including learning disabilities.
We also run Country Club sessions from this site. We value the experience and input of these older people, many of whom have a lifetime of experience working in the countryside, especially when making our farming decisions.
At the farm, some animals are here for as long as they live and are for relationship building, others produce really high quality meat. Everyone knows what the animals’ purpose will be, there is an understanding from the first visit and strong bonds can be formed with some of the animals.
In 2014 we expanded to Whitfield near Dorchester in Dorset. This has allowed us to accommodate the growing demand for our services and to broaden the range of activities we offer. Whitfield is a four-acre site with extensive horticultural facilities, woodworking, art and pottery rooms as well as a large kitchen.
The 4 acre site is on the outskirts of Dorchester and includes many outbuildings for horticultural and forest skills projects, a catering kitchen, a large fully equipped woodwork room and an extensive pottery and art space plus meeting and break out rooms.
Volunteers have been invaluable in renovating the site, from individuals to corporate teams, helping with gardening, cleaning, painting, demolishing, making, cooking, planting and more. The greenhouse is in use most days with most groups getting involved with planting seeds for Dorset Wildlife Trust’s grassless lawn that will be laid in the Dorchester Borough Gardens.
We run programmes for adults with poor mental health and programmes for adults with disabilities as well as the Country Club from this site. We are also launching a programme of community adult evening classes at Whitfield. We have pottery, woodwork, ICT and cooking classes – all welcome.
Accreditation and Registrations
Future Roots Ltd is a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales no. 6718373, however we run charitable programs. Rylands Farm programmes are accredited by The Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS) and we hold a Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge. Future Roots is also registered with Ofsted as a provider of childcare on non-domestic premises (no. EY409323). Future Roots also has Care farming UK code of Practice. Future Roots also train other farms in therapeutic section of CEVAS and mentoring farms on the code of practice.Future Roots is fully insured with public liability up to 10 million.