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The Blog

Who came to Magdalen in 2018

Posted By: Magdalen, 11th April
Who came to Magdalen in 2018

People come to Magdalen for a variety of reasons - it might be to learn about a particular topic,gain a new skill, make new friends or just to have fun.  2018 was a busy year for Magdalen Farm and our staff and visitors.  Here is a brief summary of Magdalen and who has visited us over the past year.

Magdalen's Aims & Objectives:

Magdalen is an educational and environmental charity based on a 132 organic farm and our purpose is to:

  • help people recognise their environment as integral to their wellbeing.
  • strive towards sustainability in our practices, and demonstrate it in action.
  • provide understanding and enhanced wellbeing through inspirational experiential learning for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
  • use sound organic farming and conservation practices which enhance biodiversity, while recognising the needs of a hungry world.

The charity aims to make learning an adventure, through hands-on activities and imaginative teaching whilst integrating best environmental practices.  

Our visitors

  • 4,320 people in total visited Magdalen in 2018 
  • 72 schools worked in partnership with us.
  • 838 school children came to Magdalen on a day trip.
  • 1,414 school children came to Magdalen on their residential school trips, on average staying for 2 nights.
  • 842 people with disabilities or living in significant disadvantage came to us to boost confidence, skills, enhance their quality of life and personal development. 
  • 124 young carers came to us for personal development, learning and respite
  • 164 refugees came to us for therapeutic stay

Environmental Education and School Trips

Environmental education of one form or another accounts for ¾ of Magdalen’s work.  Most of the people we reach come to us to learn about the environment, wildlife,where food comes from and how to live with a lesser impact on the planet.  They also come to us for the mixture of play and learning, and the personal
development children gain on the low ropes course, night-walks and caring for animals. Children walk away from the Farm a little bit taller than when they arrive.

We educate children across the all sectors of society, including high achievers attending Magdalen Farm Strings at Easter, and attending schools across the south of England, and also children with significant barriers to learning.  We have worked with 72 schools this year, many of them educating children from our local community, others coming from up to 200 miles away. 

People with disabilities

We work with a variety of people from all sorts of backgrounds.  This includes:

  • Families with a child with a disability - Families with children with autism or similar learning disabilities often live in profound isolation as their children can exhibit behaviour which many people find extraordinary and alarming, even threatening and intimidating due to the lack of awareness of personal space, unpredictable bursts of noise and physical activity, non-responsiveness and verbal ticks. As a result, families feel they cannot enjoy normal life in public places. In early 2018 we delivered a series of Sleepover weekends and one-day Short Breaks, supported by the Big Lottery Fund. We are delighted to report that based on the fantastic outcomes of these Sleepovers and Short Breaks, the Big Lottery Fund has agreed to fund the project for the next 5 years! 
  • Adults with poor mental health - this year we welcomed WATCH group from Chard for a variety of day trips as well as Mosaic Clubhouse from London for residential stays.  Both groups help to support those with anxiety, depression or poor mental health.
  • Adults with learning disabilities - we have enjoyed working alongside our partners at Autism Wessex and Tricuro, with the support of Skills & Learning Bournemouth Dorset & Poole, to help adults with profound learning disabilities to enjoy new experiences and a higher quality of life, and to develop crucial coping skills which help them deal with change and new challenges.

Young Carers

Young carers are children with ‘inappropriate caring responsibilities’ at home. In  2018 we are delighted to have worked with services representing young carers
across the South West region, and to have provided them with residential opportunities designed to help meet some of their needs. Our thanks once again go
to the various funders who have enabled this work.

Young carers come to us to improve:

  • Social skills and communication with others: Severely curtailed opportunities for play can stop young carers developing good interpersonal skills, particularly with their own age group.
  • Emotional resilience: Spending time with other young carers, especially over periods of several days, will enable them to share their stories with each other, realise they are not alone in their experiences and to develop a supporting camaraderie.
  • Physical health: Magdalen activities are typically outdoors and active, giving young people an excellent introduction into a more healthy and active lifestyle


For us, 2018 has been the year of the refugee.  We have welcomed children who have been smuggled or trafficked into the UK, unaccompanied by parents or other family members. We have had a particular focus, thanks to the kind support of the Pilgrim Trust, on trafficked girls and young women, many of whom have escaped not only from war and oppression in their homelands, but also appalling conditions on their arrival in the UK.

Here at Magdalen we encourage the children to express themselves, feel valued and useful, helping to forge friendships and create a peer-support network. 

In the summer of 2018 we also worked with every Syrian refugee family resettled by the British government into Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole, providing a rare opportunity not only for this displaced and embattled community to come together and share some common heritage, but also to learn more about the country in which they now live, and to enjoy access to its countryside and wildlife. In the autumn, we extended this offer to families resettled into Somerset.

The Future

We are looking to expand on the great successes from 2018 by welcoming yet more individuals, families, schools and groups to Magdalen Farm.  We have to say a big thank-you to all those trusts, charities and individuals who have backed Magdalen with grants and donations without whose generosity we could not continue to support our visitors.


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Magdalen Farm
Winsham, Maudlin
Chard, Somerset TA20 4PA
01460 30144

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