Education farm without broadband launches crowdfunding bid to help disadvantaged children
Farms aren’t usually considered a testing ground for the power of new technology and social media but one farm on the outskirts of Worcester is seeing if crowdfunding can raise £8000 to transform a classroom and kitchen where they help disadvantaged children who are struggling in their schools.
Crowdfunding is a method of raising funds by appealing to individuals and organisations in the online community for money towards specific projects. Despite having no broadband or even mains electricity, Bonterre have created and edited a video with the help of the students, and put together a webpage full of rewards for potential donors. They raised almost £600 by the end of the first day of their four week campaign.
Bonterre combines being a working farm with an educational provision that helps children who are not coping in school. Children with ADHD, autism and other conditions, including social deprivation, develop the
skills they need to cope in the future.
Schools pay for their services but without any help from central and local government, refurbishing their classroom block has been unaffordable. Education manager, Craig Swainland, explains, “Schools are on incredibly
tight budgets which means the fees we can charge are only enough to cover our day to day costs. It has also proven difficult to obtain grants as we provide our service to schools which are government funded, so we decided to try something completely different.”
He did admit that there are limits to virtual support, “We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without all those amazing people who have volunteered to give up their time to help plan and fit the kitchen.”
The Crowdfunder bid launched on Friday and will continue until 23rd December. They are keen for people to bid for a reward by visiting www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bonterre
Managing director, Mike Stringer, was a director at an international engineering firm when he felt a calling to pursue his dream of becoming a farmer. He founded Bonterre on the Top Barn estate where he has used his horticultural skills to enhance the lives of young people struggling in the school system.
Education manager, Craig Swainland, joined Bonterre after working for 10 years as a teacher in mainstream schools. He is experienced in working with disaffected and low achieving children and pushing them to achieve more than people expect of them.
Bonterre has also taken on two apprentices that have previously been beneficiaries of the project and employs youth workers and a clinical psychologist as part of the team.