Oasis Farm is Waterloo’s only urban farm. It’s tucked away on Carlisle Lane, based on an efficiently renovated strip of land which, once bereft, is now a bustling farm, home to all sorts of wildlife. Each of the animals visit the farm in rotation from partner’s Jamie’s Farm, however they usually have one ewe, a sow (along with quite a number of piglets) and some former battery-housed chickens. There are also two greenhouses where plants, vegetables and herbs are cultivated.
This ‘oasis’ exists at the centre of a largely built up and urbanised environment. This is quite the visual juxtaposition, but it is in the sense of it being ‘alien’ to its surroundings that the Farm’s true social value can be derived. The Oasis Farm Waterloo has become a community resource because it cultivates not just the landscape, but a sense of ‘nature’ and the ‘natural environment’ in people who have never experienced, and therefore do not understand, what it means to live off the land. Its partnerships with charities such as Oasis Hub Waterloo, a charity that aims at creating inclusive communities, and Jamie’s Farm, an organisation that allows disadvantaged children to develop social skills and experience with a programme of therapy, farming, and family, has allowed large number of children and young people to be introduced to new landscapes in order to get to grips with nature first-hand.
This method, although unusual, has had a concrete impact (and we don’t just mean the home-grown food they donate to schools in the area). Their school programme focuses on working with disadvantaged pupils. After regular visits, these children report an undeniable improvement in self-esteem (79% of pupils). This has a knock on effect on their attainment and their risk of exclusion with nearly a fifth of children (19%) exceeding their expected attainment in school tests, and 55% of children no longer at risk of expulsion after 6 weeks of visitation.
As well as working with schools, they run a volunteering programme, and run a variety of events and workshops, all aimed at the delivering something to the local community throughout the year, and this latter feature is the area which Oasis Farm would like to expand their business into. They are currently looking for corporate sponsors from within the business community for their new multi-function venue space, the Barn.
This unique space will add more capabilities to the Farm, and by extension, the youth of Waterloo and South Bank. The space will be available for venue hire, weddings and corporate/private events. It will also feature an open cinema, and live music and spoken word performances. They are already over half way to their goal of £85,475, having raised £55,475 from sponsors such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch that has built the foundations and a £50,000 grant from the
Trusthouse Foundation, However they actively looking for other corporate partners from within the local business community.
If you would like to learn more or discuss sponsoring this project, please contact Nathan Jones. Nathan.Jones@oasiswaterloo.org or 020 7921 4209.
For more information on Oasis Farm Waterloo, please click here.