Magdalen Environmental Trust, a 132-acre organic working farm nestled along the banks of the River Axe, specializes in accommodating school trips, residential stays, and environmental education, among other offerings. In November 2022, they reached out to Focus Foundation with a request for a grant to facilitate a collaborative project with Westbank, a charity dedicated to assisting young carers*.
The primary objective was to offer young carers in the Exeter area a unique opportunity to escape their everyday surroundings, fostering the cultivation of friendships, enhancing social skills, and providing crucial support for their emotional and psychological development.
Upon awarding the grant** the project went live in August 2023 and Magdalen Farm was finally able to welcome a group of young carers, accompanied by their Youth Workers, on to their site over the course of three days. This initiative was meticulously designed to contribute substantial value to the ongoing well-being efforts directed towards these children and young adults. It aimed to provide them with experiences and challenges that would otherwise be inaccessible, thereby assisting in their personal development, boosting confidence, and bolstering the social skills that many young carers may lack due to the demands of their personal circumstances.
Packed full of wonderful activities such as team building, building campfires, demonstrating caring for animals, river exploration, learning how to survive in the wild and fun on an obstacle course the whole project was deemed a huge success.
Giles Aspinall, Chief Exec of Magdalen commented: “This project would not have taken place at all without the support of the Focus Foundation. The young people would not have had the opportunities you enabled us to give them, so thank you so much for your generous support.”
“You are unlikely to ever meet the children and young people – we are not very likely to meet again either as, in future years, the cohort will have changed and new, younger children will need support and opportunity - but I hope you have a sense of how profound and how important this opportunity has been to them.”
We wanted to thank both the Magdalen Environmental Trust and Westbank for providing us with such a valuable opportunity to help bring their aspirations to life.
* A young carer is someone aged 18 or under who helps to look after a relative who has a condition, such as a disability, illness, mental health condition, or a drug or alcohol problem. A young carer becomes vulnerable when the level of caregiving and responsibility becomes excessive or inappropriate for that individual. The negative impact of caring without essential support can be significant and enduring on the young person’s physical and emotional health, social life and employment and life opportunities.
** Focus Foundation awarded a grant of £3,931 to The Magdalen Environmental Trust.