New lease of life for much loved farm

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One year on from the public consultation about the future of Dell Farm Education Centre, the Farm is now thriving and taking bookings through 2018.

Since Active Luton confirmed that Dell Farm in Whipsnade would remain open in April last year, over 1,000 children from schools across Luton, Central Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire have enjoyed a range of exciting day and residential visits.

Habitat walks, animal husbandry, rock climbing, bouldering, archery and caving are just a few of the activities available on this working farm complete with child friendly animals. Themed days linked to the Primary curriculum are also offered including Saxon Days, Viking Days, Book Days and Christmas Nativity Days.

Dell Farm has also welcomed visitors from charities including Kith and Kin, a London-based charity that supports people with disabilities which has used Dell Farm for respite weekends and McIntyre, a Buckinghamshire charity for people with learning disabilities which has used Dell Farm’s yurt for music therapy sessions. Luton-based Lantern and Lighthouse Provisions continue to use the centre every week and Tokko continues to use the centre for self-catering weekends. Duke of Edinburgh groups use the camping areas for their expedition training and the centre also supports local beaver and scout groups.

Dell Farm has undergone extensive renovation during the past year thanks to volunteers and donations from local companies including Vauxhall, Volker Highways and Pictons Solicitors. The building and grounds have all had a makeover in addition to redecoration work and new equipment including bunk beds, linen and bedding for the dormitories. New classroom furniture is arriving in the spring, with a further upgrade of the dining room also planned.

Dell Farm also achieved the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres’ (AHOEC) Gold Quality Badge last year. The AHOEC gold standard quality badge reflects high standards of customer care, safety management, policy, organisation and planning, facilities and resources, environmental sustainability and quality assurances measures. All gold standard centres are also accredited to both the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge and the Adventuremark.

Helen Barnett, Chief Executive of Active Luton, said: “We were overwhelmed last year by the positive response from the community to securing the future of Dell Farm. Thanks to the commitment and hard work of the team and the generous donations of manpower, resources and equipment by local businesses, Dell Farm has never looked better and we are expanding the range of activities and service we can offer in this unique location. We are delighted that we are not only welcoming an increasing number of schools, we are also welcoming visitors from charities and other organisations looking for an outdoor venue for events, meetings and activities.”

For information about Dell Farm, including residential and day visits for schools and summer holiday adventure camps, call (01582) 400272 or email BookDellFarm@activeluton.co.uk or visit www.dellfarm.org.