Posted on 6th January 2022

Densholme Farm – Care farming

Densholme Care Farm, nestled in the quaint village of Great Hatfield near Hull, has been providing enrichment & care to vulnerable adults and children for around 14 years, now they want to help other farmers diversify to create an extra revenue stream and give back, at a time when it is needed most.

Back in 2008, Denys Fell, along with his daughter Rachael and wife Mary, decided to establish a Care Farm. This idea came about when Denys invited three young men with poor mental health from a local care home to help him on the farm, twice a week for three hours a day. Seeing this as an opportunity to expand the horizons for a good cause, the Care Farm took off as just a grain shed with a kettle and few other facilities until Denys learnt that Natural England was providing grants for purpose-built educational facilities. Once the application was approved, the farm received £60K to build a solid classroom with underfloor heating and a separate entrance to the farm.

We visited Denys & Mary back in October at Densholme Care Farm and they were kind enough to give us a tour. You are probably thinking the same as we were at the time, ‘what is a care farm?’, Natural England summarised it as ‘The therapeutic use of farming practices, offering people with a defined health, social or educational need the chance to participate in a variety of farming activities for their therapeutic benefit’. On the tour, we were shown the array of animals such as grazing sheep, chickens, & a giant Kune Kune pig called Ginger, to name a few! We passed a succulent smelling herb garden full of Thyme, Marjoram, Sage and Rosemary and walked through the woodland trail which featured interactive activities for the visitors to follow. 

These are all beneficial parts of the Care Farm, the clients are able to learn responsibility by ensuring the animals are looked after and gates are closed, they are able to grow their own potatoes & nurture the herb garden as well as relax in peaceful surroundings. Denys informed us that he likes to encourage the clients to help out with ongoing building works as the facilities expand, allowing clients to see the finished product as well as learn extra skills.
Dr Rachael Fell-Chambers, daughter of Denys & Mary, is a tutor for a nationally recognised accreditation CEVAS*, offered by the Access to Farms Partnership which brings together agricultural organisations that support farmers and family members to provide opportunities for people to experience farming.

The overall aim of the CEVAS is to set you up with the skills and knowledge needed to take the leap into Care Farming diversification.
The course is a gateway for a farmer to broaden their horizons, learn how to tap into a new revenue stream and make a difference in someone’s life. 

Rachael says: “I will facilitate discussion around how care farms operate and share many examples from practice. Aspects of health and safety and safeguarding are covered within the course as well as planning activities on your farm.
“The course content also aligns with the Care Farming Code of Practice so you will also be armed with plenty of information to apply for that standard.”
Denys is eager to make sure that farmers don’t feel overwhelmed by the thought of taking a leap into the unknown, he stressed that the main business can still be a focus even when choosing to diversify: ‘The two areas of the business work in synergy together, hand in hand they both complement each other, and by that, I mean that if the Care Farm does well, my arable farm benefits and vice versa.’

Denys has been a valued customer of Peacock & Binnington since Northfield and beyond.

‘I’ve been a customer for a very long time! Richard & George have always looked after us well!’ he explained.
The most recent purchases included an Alpego Power Harrow RM400 Super 4M & a McConnel PA555 Arm Mower with electric controls which Denys emphasised: ‘They have been life changing, it’s so much easier with these electric controls, I can’t believe I ever went without them!’.
Reliable machinery is needed for his 270 acres of Arable land, which has been fully organic since 2002.

For further information about the course visit: www.visitmyfarm.org/cevas-farmer-training

*Countryside Educational Visits Access Scheme.