AN EXCITED group of youngsters got their first taste of life on the farm when a visionary couple launched a children’s education centre.
Members of the 127th Beaver pack from St. Thomas’s Church, Moorside, were the first visitors to the 20-acre spread at Lower Ship Farm, Grains Bar.
John Beck and his partner Cindy Bramhall are aiming to provide a safe, friendly ‘outdoor classroom’ for youngsters to learn about the countryside, small animals, agriculture and the importance of sustainability of the local environment.
The plan has been approved by OMBC, and Cllr Adrian Alexander, from Saddleworth West and Lees, said: “It is a terrific concept and will give youngsters a real insight into all aspects of growing up with animals.
“It addresses all the green issues too – I wish them well with their venture.”
The couple are offering day trips to primary schools, nurseries and other organised groups to boost the learning experience.
Said Canadian-born Cindy: “We will include activities in the unique setting of an outdoor classroom and indoor workshop area to benefit local schools by providing a lower cost opportunity and involvement in community vision.
“The Beaver group had a brilliant time. They were all so keen to learn about our animals and get hands-on with them.
“They spent ages investigating the chicken coop – especially the nest boxes – and it was fantastic to see how eager they were to feed the horses and pigs and meet the rabbits.
“We came up with an idea for them to name our new goat which was very well received and Benny seems to like his new name.”
Beavers leader Zelda Martin added: “The visit was brilliant. The children absolutely loved it and they are preparing a presentation of what they saw and did during their visit.”
There will be a long cabin type building for lunch and party use with two existing sheds as farm buildings and an entrance area to include front desk, refreshments servery and toilets.
The sheds will provide indoor activity areas and animals pens with a new agricultural-type outbuilding outdoor area to lead from existing sheds to be an “open classroom”, with an inside area to house animal hutches.
Said John, 42: “We look forward to working with many associations and trusts to educate, inform and inspire the community so they have a better understanding of the importance of sustainability of our local environment.”
And they are aiming to be recognised by national charity Countryside Learning and seen to “educate, inform and inspire children, parents and teachers”.
For further information, contact John or Cindy on: 0750 024 7872.