Who We Are
Bonterre CIC (Community Interest Company) was set up in 2014 as an alternative educational resource, based on a 8 acre small-holding on the Top Barn estate, just outside Worcester.
Bonterre was founded by Mike Stringer, who was a director at an international engineering firm when he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a farmer, using his horticultural skills to enhance the lives of young people struggling in the school system.
Our core aim is to provide alternative education support for children who are not thriving in a mainstream school setting due to a wide range of emotional, social and learning needs such as ADHD and autism. We use the land, animals and the natural environment as a medium with which to engage children, benefitting their emotional wellbeing as well as their physical health.
We have trained staff and services tailored to meet the needs of young people challenged by mental health issues, educational disengagement and other circumstances that can limit their progress and aspirations.
To learn more about the young people we help and the impact we have, click the link below:
The small holding is located on a larger farm estate in the Worcestershire countryside. The site includes an orchard where we grow apples, pears and plums for fruit and juicing; fields where we grow pumpkins, strawberries, raspberries and other soft fruit; and flower gardens that provide cut flowers to local florists as well as providing displays for weddings.
As well as the commercial crops, we have a kitchen garden which provides a greater variety of food for our lunches that we cook and eat with the children, such as potatoes, peas, cabbages and onions. We also have a number of “Have a Go” beds for children to take charge of growing their own vegetables or flowers.
Research has shown that spending time with animals is an excellent way of developing patience and empathy so we have guinea pigs, mice, sheep and pigs on site, as well as several dogs that the children love.
We also have a group of chickens and ducks that provide us with eggs all year round (and a noisy welcome in the mornings!)
Bonterre is run by a team of highly trained permanent staff and volunteers, passionate about improving the lives of and opportunities for young people. We have experienced teachers and youth workers that work together to create a unique learning environment that enables children to manage their emotions and develop the key skills for success.
Our staff also bring a wealth of personal interests that they use to provide a varied range of activities in addition to farming, such as fishing, photography, birdwatching, craft, bushcraft, cookery, music and countryside skills.
Staff receive regular training in working with children with a range of complex needs, to ensure that we understand and correctly respond to the children in our care. Part of our approach involves meeting each week to discuss individual students, ensuring that our plans will challenge and support them in their emotional and social development.
We think our staff are amazing and their calm, gentle approach is what makes Bonterre the fantastic service that it is.