Cheshire farm helps vulnerable young adults become farm rangers

08 March 2024

A photo of Rosie Lee and Nicola Colenso at Let's Farm in Winsford

Rosie Lee and Nicola Colenso 

A farm in Winsford, Cheshire, is doing incredible work with young people with learning disabilities and difficulties to train them as farm rangers.

NFU members Nicola Colenso and farmer Rosie Lee have been inviting young adults onto their 100-acre mixed farm at Stocks Hill, Darnhall, with the belief that visiting and working on the farm could be widely beneficial.

Let’s Farm is an innovative community project that gives people a real experience of working on a local farm.

Over 30 trainee farm rangers from across Cheshire attend weekly, taking part in all farming life from daily stock duties, and caring for the animals through to conservation and environmental work.

The power of education

Nicola said: “Let’s Farm is not just a farm, it's a dynamic learning space where the beauty of nature meets the power of education. Our facilities are specially designed to cater for the diverse needs of our participants, ensuring that everyone can fully engage in the learning process.

“All the activities on farm have a great impact on both the rangers and the environment. The rangers make new friendships, learn, and they are working on their employability skills, which is woven through everything we do on the farm. Our rangers have an unbelievable experience while working as a team.”

Rosie added: “The rangers are learning every skill needed to be a farmer. We teach them about sustainability, growing their own produce and where their food comes from.

“The rangers have been getting involved in the local farming community and participate in local agricultural shows. They have shown their Shropshire sheep and lambs at the Cheshire Show and the Nantwich Show. They have celebrated many a rosette win and we’re all extremely proud of them.”

NFU Cheshire County Adviser Helen Wainwright said: “Let’s Farm is such a fantastic project giving people the opportunity to become farmers and learning about where their food comes from.

“Cheshire is a big farming community so it’s really great to have this in the area giving people these experiences to hopefully help them gain life skills and employment in the future.”

A mutually supportive community

Many generous grants over the years have helped develop the farm with the addition of more animals, and several new buildings where students develop their work skills including in animal care, conservation, horticulture, woodwork and rural crafts.

Next steps are to make the farm as sustainable as possible and they are looking at carrying out lots of environmental work including hedgerow and tree planting, and creating wildlife habitats.

The workers at Let’s Farm range in age from 18 to 35 and many have continued to come to the farm since 2021 when it first started welcoming people with learning difficulties, creating a mutually supportive community – older students help the new ones learn about life on the farm.

Nicola said: “There’s a really good sense that the farm is a setting where they can not only take part, but they can succeed and achieve and really make a difference.

“There really is a sense of achievement here, stemming from the mutual benefit that is happening between the students and the farm.”

Ask us a question about this page

Once you have submitted your query someone from NFU CallFirst will contact you. If needed, your query will then be passed to the appropriate NFU policy team.

You have 0 characters remaining.

By completing the form with your details on this page, you are agreeing to have this information sent to the NFU for the purposes of contacting you regarding your enquiry. Please take time to read the NFU’s Privacy Policy if you require further information.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.