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The care farming Code of Practice - Overview
The care farming Code is divided into 3 sections, each comprising a number of different standards
1. We run a responsible care farm
2. We care about the people we work with
3. Our care farm is a safe place to be
Care farms provide health, social and specialist educational care services using farming-related activities - for the benefit of service users from a wide range of vulnerable groups. Working with nature in a farming environment promotes physical and mental health and wellbeing and provides excellent therapeutic and educational opportunities.
The provision is delivered in a structured and professional manner, by practitioners who understand the needs and capabilities of both service users and their land-based operation. Working closely with soil, plants and /or animals, provides an elementary but powerful medium for service users. A 'hands-on' approach is essential for a strong mental and emotional response needed for effective learning and therapy.
The Code of Practice is a clear set of guidelines, intended to meet the requirements of commissioners, service users and other authorities to ascertain that care farms which adhere to the Code are safe, professional and efficacious. It is intended as a Quality Standard for care farms.
Quality of service provision is assured through a process of self-assessment by practising care farms, enabling them to demonstrate that they follow the care farming Code of Practice. The care farming Code is site specific and refers to each individual care farm site. If a care farm has several outreach sites, a Code application should therefore be completed for each one.
Self-assessments are appraised by a Panel of experts, affirming the care farm's commitment to following the Code. Any complaints against a care farm will be investigated by the Panel, which is appointed by Social Farms & Gardens. In this way, quality standards are maintained by care farms and their stakeholders themselves, without imposition from external agencies.
As the range of care farms is very diverse, some elements of the Code of Practice may not be relevant to all care farms, in this case, evidence is required to explain why certain elements are not applicable. Care farms may also incorporate additional 'green care' activities in their care farming programmes, such as social and therapeutic horticulture (STH), animal or equine assisted therapy, for example.
It is the responsibility of care farmer to provide accurate information. Each care farm is fully and
individually responsible for the way it carries out its business: Social Farms & Gardens can only serve to enable and facilitate, and not accept any liability.
The care farming Code of Practice represents a set of minimum standards to which care farms should adhere. It is the aim of Social Farms & Gardens to ensure that all care farms in the UK go through the Code process to maintain high quality service provision within the care farming sector.