Small Animal Centre Opening
Small animal centre gets big welcome down on the farm
Homewood School Farm’s new small animal care education centre, built with National Lottery funding, welcomed in its first visitors on Wednesday 19 September 2018 after an official opening ceremony.
A group of youngsters and their teachers from the neighbouring Homewood Farm Nursery came to meet the farm’s newest residents – chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and tortoises – and had a great time getting to know them, assisted by members of Homewood’s Young Farmers Club.
Cllr Mike Carter, representing Tenterden Town Council, cut the ribbon on the new building and covered animal pen at a ceremony attended by the school’s Principal, Mrs Sally Lees, school staff, governors, and representatives from local community groups and charities.
The new centre provides accommodation for a range of small animals, together with a substantial additional classroom space and an outdoor pen for animal handling lessons with larger animals, such as calves and sheep. Whilst the construction of the centre has been made possible by an Awards for All grant, the animal housing has kindly been funded by Town & Country Cleaners Ltd, a service supplier to Homewood.
Cllr Carter said: “I am delighted to open the farm’s new small animal centre. Homewood Farm has always had an active role in local education, going back some 70 years since the school’s foundation. This new centre will ensure that even more members of the Tenterden and wider Kent community can have access to this service.”
Farm manager Laila Hameed said: “Thanks to the generosity of everyone who plays the National Lottery, we have the kind of centre we have always wanted, which will benefit both our students and the wider community. The development has doubled the teaching space we have available and will enable us to allow more external groups to benefit from interactions with animals, as well as gain a better appreciation of our connection to the land and natural world.”
Homewood Farm is one of a very small number of working school farms in the UK. It is used by the school for animal care lessons and other class visits, which not only link to environmental and conservation issues but also incorporate Science, Geography, English and Maths subjects. The farm holds community open days, runs regular masterclasses and a summer school for local primary pupils, Rainbow and Brownie groups, as well as the nearby Kench Hill Charity, which helps reconnect inner city children with rural life. Its popular Young Farmers Club works towards annual shows and events in which it regularly wins top prizes.