Four delighted students from Aston Fields Middle School in Bromsgrove have received financial sponsorship from Redditch-based charity the Oakland Foundation which has enabled them to take part in a 10-week course at the Bonterre Project based at Top Barn Farm in Holt Heath throughout the summer term.
Oakland Foundation Trustee, Hayley Smith, explained: “By providing financial support the Oakland Foundation has enabled the school’s students to take part in the Bonterre Project and experience the vast range of positive activities and tasks which both support and aide their personal and social engagement along with providing a rewarding educational experience.”
Designed to improve life skills and personal resilience through engagement in the ‘Living Land’ programme, the Bonterre Project works with children to develop relationships, increase personal motivation and self-confidence by taking part in a range of agricultural activities and tasks such as sowing seeds, planting, harvesting and animal care, through to fishing, carpentry, rowing, wildlife and environmental awareness, Celtic roundhouse construction, lighting fires, cooking in the open as well as developing ‘bush-craft’ skills.
Bonterre manager, Mike Stringer commented: “It has been a real privilege working with the students from Aston Fields and seeing them grow in confidence and develop new skills.
“At Bonterre we believe that all children and young people have unique talents and gifts and a right to a purposeful place in society. These four children have proved further evidence for this belief and we wish them every success in their transition to High School and the future. Thank you to the Oakland Foundation for giving them this opportunity.”
The Foundation provided financial sponsorship for all four students and their teaching assistant to attend the project, the cost of transport to and from Bonterre, food for the pupils as well as providing the materials for a range of activities and tasks undertaken such as seeds and compost, plants and timber.
Aston Fields Middle School Assistant Headteacher, Carole Teer, commented: “Participation in this “outreach” project, at Bonterre, has been a fantastic opportunity for the four pupils, helping them develop a greater understanding of how the world outside of home and school, works, as well as developing the implicit life skills of team-building, empathy, decision making and resilience, as they prepare for the next stage in their learning journey at high school.
“Staff at Aston fields Middle School and parents/carers are very grateful to the Oakland Foundation Charity for funding this innovative provision for “real life”, in these challenging budgetary times for schools. The Oakland Foundation Charity has been able to provide a bespoke curriculum opportunity, which would otherwise have been impossible.”
The Oakland Foundation supports children living in Redditch and Bromsgrove and the surrounding area with activities relating to Health and Nutrition, Education and Sport, and who are in need by reason of disadvantage or financial hardship.