Freemasons donate £38k to ‘urban farmers’ project

A Bristol city farm has been given £38,125 by the Masonic Charitable Foundation to support their Urban Farmers Project which works with disadvantaged young people from local schools.The project, at St Werburghs City Farm in Ashley Vale, works with teenagers who are among the 10 per cent most disadvantaged in the UK.The programme was set-up to engage young people in activities that support greater health, wellbeing and personal development. They are encouraged to learn a range of skills, working with the land and with animals, as well as conservation work and practical building projects.The young people are aged between 14 to 19, with many come from low-income families, are often at risk of exclusion from mainstream education or are so-called ‘NEETS’ being neither in employment, education or training. Some have learning difficulties, mental health concerns, physical disabilities or have been in trouble with the police.The aim is to break cycles of negative behaviour among the young people and encourage them to finish their secondary education, enter higher education, find meaningful paid employment.The funding for the grant comes from Freemasons and their families across England and Wales.Kari Halford, Director of St Werburghs City Farm, said: “We’re very grateful for the generous grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation for our Urban Farmers Project. “We offer practical outdoor activities that increase the confidence and wellbeing of disadvantaged teenagers so that they can overcome the challenges they face. “Thanks to the Freemasons we can employ our Youth Officer for three years, who will be working with more than 650 young people.”Christopher Williams, Deputy Chairman of Bristol Freemasons said: “We’re really pleased to be able to support the Urban Farmers Project. St Werburghs City Farm will now be able to continue their excellent work with hundreds more disadvantaged young people, adding to all those they have helped over nearly four decades. Many thanks to all the staff and volunteers for making us so very welcome when we visited.”