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Project information

East Dorset Families in crisis Respite Fund

To give disadvantaged families in East Dorset a respite break at Longmead Community Farm, Blandford. Families attend over a weekend and are given support with parenting skills whilst enjoying the outdoor farm environment. Families are supervised and supported by experienced staff at all times.

April 2018 - October 2018

Charity information: Bus Stop Club

Bus Stop Club logo
  • Need


    By providing respite support for families in crisis in a safe rural environment, families are given 'breathing space' from stressful home environments. For example, the effects of debt, single parent households on low income or benefits, children with additional needs, known to social services or on the at risk register. Specific parenting skills can be modelled by farm staff and volunteers in a non-threatening and supportive way, with parents and children learning together.


    There is evidence to show that providing this type of support away from the family home reduces stress levels within the family and the effect of traumatic events on children. In a small farm environment dysfunctional families learn new skills and ways of relating after times of stress or trauma. Families will be identified and put forward for a respite visit at the invitation of staff and volunteers working at the Turbary Resource Centre, who are already working with the family.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To identify families who would benefit from Respite Breaks at Longmead Farm.


    » Ask staff and volunteers for referrals from families they are supporting.

    What success will look like

    Compile a list of disadvantaged families who would benefit from a Respite Break.

    Aim 2

    To arrange and pay for Respite Breaks for individual families in crisis.


    » To ask for donations from warm contacts and others during the Christmas Period which can then be match funded by the Big Give Christmas Challenge.

    What success will look like

    Funding collected as a result of the Christmas Challenge will be earmarked for Family Respite Breaks, and will be paid directly to the Farm when application for a visit is made.

  • Impact


    Families who attend the farm for regular breaks have been found to:
    have increased resilience to stress and crisis.
    learn new ways of relating within the family unit.
    children learn safety rules around being outdoors and around animals.
    parents learn how to spend quality time outdoors with their children.
    Parents are encouraged to improve their home environment and this can result in greater family cohesion and children being removed from the at risk register.


    Demand could outweigh supply - our financial resources may well not be enough to cover all the costs.
    We will address this by prioritising those most at risk of family breakup, or parents who have mental ill-health and are predicted to lose their children to the care system unless they have a chance of a break from their home environment.


    Feedback from families and farm staff, via their key workers or volunteers here at the Centre. Families will keep a visual diary of their visit e.g. a scrapbook of pictures with comments from both parents and children. Donors can look on our website for updates - identities will be protected.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £2,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,680 Longmead Farm visits £280 x 6 visits to Longmead Farm over 6 months
      £120 Travel costs £20 x 6 visits
      £200 materials / admin Art materials / admin costs

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Canford PCC £1,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    We are situated in the most disadvantaged local area in East Dorset. We are both urban and rural. We work with individuals in crisis who fall into one or more of the following: part time low wages, poor transport links, social housing, debt, families in crisis with mental ill-health or additional needs, and single parent households. It is challenging to find funding, especially to help individual families who would benefit from a short respite visit to our local community farm.


    Local families from the East Dorset area - it does not take much to tip a disadvantaged family into crisis. We particularly want to help those who are making a real effort to work with us, usually either on their journey out of debt or out of the social care system. Many of these parents have experienced child abuse or trauma and so are already emotionally broken when they start their own families. The farm are their own charity and report good outcomes from families who engage with them.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are the only Open Door Centre in this area, anyone can come and have an initial interview to listen to their situation and determine if we can help them. If not we actively signpost them to one of the other specialised agencies depending on the main issue. We continue to act as advocate for the individual, and can attend court, medical or social services meetings with them. We offer a weekly community cafe, and family activities here at the Centre both after school and in the holidays.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Susan Sutherland

    Project Manager, Turbary Resource Centre. We will be responsible for explaining to our staff and volunteers the process of referring families.

    Denise Abrahall

    Project Manager, Longmead Community Farm. Denise will discuss referrals with ourselves and decide what they can offer any particular family.

    Derek Howshall

    Treasurer and Chair of Committee. Derek will be responsible for agreeing to the referral and paying the invoices to the Farm for family visits.


£100 will pay for a short morning visit to Longmead Community Farm for one family in crisis.

'Longmead makes an incredible difference to my family when no-one else is listening or supporting us’.

A single parent after a visit