And here is an interesting article about the therapeutic and decriminalising impact of rural life and skills – which in many settings in rural England is under funding threat.  This story is also notable for the mention of the well-being of future generations act which is an example of Welsh best practice we could well do with this side of the border (even if in this particular case it has been hard to enforce). This story tells us:

City and community farms across the country are being threatened with closure due to local authority cuts and increased competition for funding, leading to reduced opening hours and scaled back services. However, for many troubled teenagers the farms provide a vital lifeline.

“These places give kids an opportunity in life,” says Ryan Clements, an 18-year-old apprentice at Greenmeadow community farm in Cwmbran, south Wales. “If I hadn’t come here then I’d probably be sat in a jail cell somewhere. I would start fights with people at school for no apparent reason.”

Despite the important work it does, Greenmeadow is facing a £200,000 subsidy cut – just under a third of its budget – from Torfaen county borough council, which funds the farm. “Everybody knows the value the farm has to the community,” says a council spokesman. “No one wants it to close by any means. We’re not under any illusions about the challenge this service faces.”

The council’s budget has been cut by £60m since 2010 and it has to save an additional £25m before 2023. It is encouraging the farm to generate more income from the resources it has, but acknowledges that one of the farm’s main sources of income, school courses, are no longer in demand – due to education funding reductions – and there are no block bookings yet for next year. “It’s a vicious cycle,” the council spokesman concedes.

The Well-being of Future Generations Act came into force across Wales in 2016, putting the onus on public organisations to account for the impact their decisions have on economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing in their area. However, deep funding cuts have hampered attempts to uphold those principles.

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