On Tuesday I visited ‘Happy Hens’ http://www.highfieldshappyhens.co.uk/ with my sister and my nieces and nephew, it was a gorgeous afternoon and the kids loved it, they go regularly to visit the farm just outside of Derby. (If you’re in the area and have children it’s well worth a visit.)
The hens are free range and the farm has a number of other animals and play areas for young visitors to enjoy, but as described on the website the farm also has another important function.
It started in 1984 as a vision of Roger and Beryl Hosking to provide work, support, teaching and love for youngsters whose lives were in a mess.
As Christians it was their practical answer to a rapidly growing social problem – they started in 1984 caring for homeless youngsters and they needed something for them to do so Highfields Happy Hens was hatched.
Angry hands became gentle hands collecting eggs, their visitors learnt to count, read, write, handle money and customers. In short they learned to respect themselves and became able to become positive members of society.
In 2001 the project began to be used by the Youth Offending Service and the Local Education Authority for youngsters who had been excluded from school or in danger of being excluded.
Very few are “young offenders” the plan is to keep them out of trouble.
The project is now used for all types of young people who are struggling at school – it has an awesome reputation for keeping young people out of trouble and getting them back to school.
On the way out I made a donation to support this project – it’s great to think that somewhere relatively small and something that started so simply is making so many people happy. 🙂