Objective – Community engagement for education and wellbeing

There is an incredible sense of momentum now behind the movement to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis. As we start to understand that there are things we can do that will make a measurable contribution, the despair at the constant stream of bad news is replaced with resolve and positive energy.

We are fortunate at Carbeth to be situated in the midst of a vibrant rural community who are passionate and often extraordinarily knowledgeable about the natural world that surrounds us. The support and engagement that our website launch and first few posts have received have exceeded all expectations, demonstrating that our ecological objectives are enthusiastically shared in our local community. And we want our community to be involved in the process. We want you to bring your passion and your knowledge, as many are already doing, and we want to know what we can give back to you. 

Education & Leisure

Carbeth Home Farm has long established links with educational institutions and initiatives. Farm owner, Daye Tucker, a teacher for much of her working life, was involved in the Balfron Rural Skills Initiative at Balfron High School. Lawrence Martin joined the farm as a Modern Apprentice, while studying for his HNC in Agriculture. Both also participated in an Erasmus farming exchange in France.

We see potential in the following areas:

  • Local schools – provide an environment in which local children can learn about the environment and ecology
  • In-house – create and deliver classes and courses in rural skills and ecology
  • Collaboration – work with charities and professional educators, providing the environment and facilities they require
  • Community – uniting our local community around our work, inviting participation, and sharing the benefits of enriched biodiversity, improved access and social cohesion

Initially, these activities would take place primarily outdoors, around the estate, but we hope eventually to also develop indoor, or at least sheltered facilities.

Nature & mental health

Given the accessibility of our location, we also believe our beautiful farm, and the ethos of our project, could have a role to play in tackling poor mental health in the wider community. Stressful, sedentary lives, lived primarily indoors and seated, often with poor diets, meant much of the world was already facing a decline in physical and mental health before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic and its necessary restrictions have brought sustained high levels of anxiety, have restricted our physical movement and social interactions, and have had devastating effects on many people’s health and financial security. While the vaccine rollout brings welcome cause for optimism, the pandemic is by no means under control at the time of writing, and its grim economic consequences may be felt for years to come.

We know intuitively, and there is now a substantial body of evidence to support the hypothesis, that time spent outdoors in the natural environment is good for our mental as well as our physical health – as little as 10 minutes spent outdoors just sitting or walking can measurably reduce stress.

Back in 2009 as Minister for the Environment in the Scottish Government, Roseanna Cunningham saw an opportunity to link the skills & assets within Forestry Commission Scotland to the gap within the SNHS for mental health provision.
Branching Out was thus launched at Pollock House where Daye Tucker was privileged to give a presentation on behalf of Care Farming Scotland to a gathering of multiple groups sharing the same aims & objectives.
Since then FCS has evolved into a new entity but the original Branching Out objective remains live. https://forestry.gov.scot/…/health-strategy/branching-out

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