Children's Adventure Farm Trust
The Children’s Adventure Farm Trust (CAFT) is a registered charity No 1003675 based in Cheshire, England. It provides opportunities for approximately 3,000 disabled, terminally ill and disadvantaged children each year.
CAFT was formed in 1985 by Tim Grundy and a group of like-minded local businessmen. Tim had a vision of a centre which would provide holidays for children living in Children’s Homes, confident that these breaks were essential to provide these children with fun, friendship and hope. Fundraising began, and four years later, in 1989, Booth Bank Farm in Millington was purchased. In 1992 this 10-acre (40,000 m2) site opened its doors to children from all over the North West, and has been offering holidays and daytrips ever since.
Each year the Adventure Farm helps 3,000 children aged 4 to 16, coming from all over the North West, with people coming from Cheshire, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cumbria, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, North Wales and Derbyshire.
Approximately 60% of these children have physical disabilities, including many with sensory impairments, mobility problems and brain injuries. 40% of CAFT’s users have learning disabilities or behavioural problems, such as Autism, Downs Syndrome or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it is often the case that the children staying will have both physical and learning disabilities. They regularly see children with physical injuries; others have chronic, life-limiting and terminal illnesses. In the region of 40% of the children come from economically deprived areas.
CAFT also welcomes children as young as 5 who act as carers within the home, taking care of parents with chronic illnesses, mental health problems or addiction. Many children visiting are currently residing outside of the traditional family home, either in foster care, children’s homes or with their mothers in Refuges. Many will also be receiving support and counselling for the terrible emotional and physical scars caused by abuse, others have been witnesses of a crime either in their home, at school or on the streets.
The Adventure Farm believes that these holidays are vital: “We believe that all children, regardless of age, ability or social circumstance, have the right to play in a safe environment. For many children, this is not possible in their daily environment. A holiday at The Adventure Farm gives them a fantastic opportunity to escape the traumas of their everyday life and simply become children again. Here at CAFT we give these children the opportunity to improve the quality of their lives, recognise their potential and achieve their goals. We show the children and young people that there is a world outside of the world they live in, giving them something to aim for, giving them hope.
As well as group holidays, CAFT can also offer families with disabled children short breaks in the Respite Care Facility. Caring for a child with a physical disability, chronic illness or terminal illness can be a huge responsibility, not only physically and mentally but also financially. Many of these families are on a low income or benefits as they are forced to give up work to look after their sick or disabled child, and as such rarely, if ever, get the chance to enjoy a family holiday together.”
Each year, CAFT must raise £750,000 in order that they can continue to fulfil their promise to these children. The Adventure Farm is funded entirely by voluntary contributions, it does not receive any statutory funding.
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