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Care farm helps young people to turn their lives around

A farm in Dorset is helping troubled young people to turn their lives around. Future Roots at Rylands Farm near Sherborne is a 'care farm' which puts young people to work, giving them skills, confidence, responsibility and ultimately the qualifications they need to help them build a future. It has won awards for its educational work.

They take challenging youngsters who have been excluded from the mainstream education system and those who struggle with schoolwork and help them to find direction.

16-year-old Abii Edmed came to Future Roots four years ago with attitude problems. Her anger had led to her being excluded from school and other learning centres. Now, thanks to the confidence she has gained on the farm, she has won a place at college and is hoping to achieve her dream of setting up a riding school for disabled children.

I was quite angry all the time, I didn't trust anyone, wouldn't let anyone in, wouldn't talk to anyone. I'd just bottle it up and not let anyone in. Now I'm a lot calmer. I've brought a lot more confidence to myself being here and I believe more in myself

– Abii Edmed
Rough coated Jack Russell Alfie is the real boss on the farm. Credit: ITV Westcountry

The director of Future Roots, Julie Plumley grew up on a farm and trained to be a social worker. She has been Abii's mentor and guided her through he journey.

She expected us to reject her. She expected us to push her away, that was what she expected and we don't, we don't do that. It's like seeing that chrysalis to a butterfly, it's amazing and you can't fail but be touched by it, I guess. I'm really proud of most of the young people who come here because I think the challenges they have are so big

– Julie Plumley, Director, Future Roots
Brad Jeanes, 15, is shown how to look after goats' feet. Here he is trimming hooves with clippers Credit: ITV Westcountry

Future Roots works with people with learning difficulties and retired farmers as well as troubled young people and children who struggle with academic subjects at school. They may not all want to become farmers but here they learn teamwork, communication, problem solving, discipline, trust - they learn to be employable.

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