Sheffield young people with special needs given Alternative Educational Provision thanks to Freemasons
Stuart Grantham of the Yorkshire West Riding Freemasons meets some of the young people on the ‘Whirlow LIFE’ programme, along with John Gray (Head of Learning Strategy) and Emily Owen (Grants and Trusts Fundraiser) from Whirlow Hall Farm Trust.
The work of Sheffield charity Whirlow Hall Farm Trust has been given a boost by a £12,000 grant from the Yorkshire West Riding Freemasons.
The grant will support the Trust’s programmes which help young people with complex learning and behavioural difficulties reach their potential through engagement with the outdoors.
In the Sheffield region, well over 3000 children and adults are living with a learning disability. Over the next two years, the Freemasons’ £12,000 grant will help the Trust to work with 50 such young people aged 14-25, and to support a further 20 secondary school students who are struggling to engage with mainstream education.
Whirlow Hall Farm Trust’s ‘Whirlow LIFE’ programme helps young people with learning disabilities or other additional needs fulfil their potential by offering an alternative approach to education and development, one that combines learning with outdoor, hands-on activities.
Young people participate in farm-based education programmes, engaging in a range of practical activities from taking care of the animals to helping work the land. This hands-on approach helps young people grow in confidence, develop friendships with others, and build life skills.
The Trust also works with secondary students who are struggling to engage with school. Many have behavioural difficulties, and find the classroom environment a difficult place to be – often this increases the risk of exclusion.
But on the farm they channel their energy into hands-on tasks, learning in a different way how to solve problems and work with others. With the support of the Trust, many re-engage in education and go on to sit their exams.
The grant from Yorkshire West Riding Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Ben Davies, Chief Executive at Whirlow Hall Farm Trust, said: “We’re grateful to Yorkshire West Riding Freemasons for this very generous grant, which will allow us to help young people face their challenges and develop vital life-skills. It really will help them make the most of their potential.”
Stuart Grantham from Yorkshire West Riding Freemasons, said: “We’re very pleased to be able to support the Whirlow Hall Farm Trust with their life-changing work with local young people. Their programmes can transform the prospects of some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”