Dorchester Agricultural Society funds local school farm visits

L-R Jo Hatton from The Country Trust, Wakely Cox, Rupert Edwards, Vince Legg, Alastair Cowen, Dave Small, JJ Hill, Bec Hill, Rebecca Cox, Neil Martin and Katherine Mason
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Dorchester Agricultural Society paid for 120 pupils from Jewell Academy, a primary school in Bournemouth, to visit North West Farm in Winterborne Kingston. The Society set up the Dorchester Agricultural Society 1840 Education Fund three years ago to provide Dorset schools with knowledge of agriculture, horticulture and rural enterprise. It grants funding to schools for trips to various farms across the county which has been made possible by donations from Society Members, local businesses and charities.

After an application has been approved for a school to receive funding, pupils and teachers will be given a complimentary tour of a local farm. There is also the opportunity to take part in fun yet educational activities throughout the day which cover a range of topics such as farm machinery, caring for livestock and discovering how food is grown and produced.

Jewell Academy is the eighth primary school that the Dorchester Agricultural Society 1840 Education Fund has supported since it was set up in 2015. St Mary’s Catholic First School in Dorchester and Damers First School in Poundbury have also received financial help from the fund to organise educational farm visits for their pupils.

Daniel Kopfli, year three teacher at Jewell Academy, said: “We are so grateful and would like to say a massive thank you to Dorchester Agricultural Society and North West Farm for allowing our year three and four pupils to visit the farm. The children had such an exciting day and learnt so much about the different aspects of farming including diversification and arable farming. Some of our pupils had never been to rural Dorset so it was a fantastic opportunity for them and we are so thankful for Dorchester Agricultural Society for making this visit happen.

“The volunteers from the farm made the activities so engaging for our children and we hope to return annually in future.”

Alastair Cowen, President of Dorchester Agricultural Society, added: “Charity work is very important to Dorchester Agricultural Society and something which I am extremely passionate about.

“I helped set up this initiative as we wanted to give back to the community which has supported us for nearly 180 years since the society began in 1840. By helping to fund their transport it has given pupils the opportunity to visit our local farms when they might not have had the chance otherwise. This is something which we are proud of as we believe it is essential that children are educated on rural life.

“We are so pleased that Jewell Academy enjoyed their visit and hope to help them and other schools in the future to visit Dorset’s farms.”

Dorchester Agricultural Society was formed in 1840 and is responsible for organising some of Dorset’s most recognisable agricultural events, including Dorset County Show, which attracts 60,000 people across the two-day event, taking place on September 1 and 2, 2018.

To make a grant application please visit dorsetcountyshow.co.uk to download a form and submit for consideration. Please call 01305 264249 for more information. 

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