Students appeal for support to boost their farm project


Students in Arlesey are appealing to the public to help them win a huge cash boost for their school farm.

The Etonbury Academy Farm was successful in its application for the Tesco Bags of Help grant scheme and the project will be put forward to a customer vote in stores during May and June.

Etonbury principal, Alex Prior, said: “Our farm is set within the heart of the school community and is a fabulous asset for our students. Animal husbandry at the farm is taking off as we already have sheep, pigs, chickens, guinea pigs, a rabbit and reptile, whose welfare is organised by farm club students and a teacher each weekday.

“We would like to increase our range of small animals to include additional rabbits, hedgehogs, quail and tortoise, but first we need to build their homes, and for this we need the public’s help.

“As part of the redevelopment of our site, we have already put a number of structures into place including a farm classroom, poly tunnels, a tool shed, raised vegetable beds and a large wildlife pond. Beyond the farm, the Etonbury community have begun planting a community fruit orchard which is situated on the edge of the beautiful Etonbury Woods.

“With the money we raise, we will build a series of spacious and secure walk-in enclosures onto the side of the farm classroom. Each one will have plenty of outdoor room and will contain a suitable animal house. This will allow us to teach the BTEC Animal Care qualification using a wider range of interesting species.

“The farm is hugely popular with our students both as an extra-curricular activity and as a learning environment for our key stage 4 agricultural courses. I hope that the public will vote for this worthwhile project so that we can further improve the farm for our students and the local community.

“Alongside the formal qualifications, we also run community outreach through farm taster sessions with local community residents and primary schools. As we expand, we hope to attract more visitors and volunteers from other organisations such as local hospices and care homes. The more animals we can bring into the farm, the better the experience for these visitors and the community.”

Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local community projects.

Voting is open in stores throughout May and June and voting should be up and running in all participating stores by the week ending May 7. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out.