What I enjoyed at the Farm/ What is different in Battersea:
“Some people think shepherds just herd sheep but they do so much more. I helped the shepherd move the Farm’s sheep along with the sheep dog. I also watched the acting out of the Nativity in the fields in the evening in the dark. It made the Christmas story very real.
I loved watching Timber (the Farm’s dog) swimming in the river. Battersea people have mean dogs. Timber is a happy dog. People in London have dogs to stop people stealing things and because they like to have mean dogs. Mean dogs are needed more in London than in Devon.
Devon is a nice place. There’s space for people and animals and plenty of space to play. In London there are too many buildings and cars and not enough space to run around.”
“Crime is more likely in Battersea than in Devon. In London there is lots of noise. At night teenagers do bad stuff. It’s easier to get pickpocketted in busy places. Our mums worry about letting us out in London. They don’t worry about us coming down here without them even though they can’t have phone contact with us here.
I enjoyed being a shepherd in the acting out of the Nativity play on the farm. In Battersea you’d have to do all that inside. It’s more realistic here – real sheep, real fields, real shepherds.”
“I enjoyed being given the opportunity to take on a leadership role here. I don’t have that in London. It made me feel really good – I’m so glad I can do things like this now. I don’t need to do childish things now; I can be more involved in adult work. I feel like I’m a man and part of the man’s team. I can see the proof I’m doing a man’s job but I can still have a joke.”
“I enjoyed being a shepherd in the Nativity and acting as if I was scared in the light from the angels. I liked working with James (lead shepherd) and had fun running round doing jobs. It’s different to London – they are real sheep and not fake.”
“The food on the Farm is delicious and home-made.
I enjoyed doing physical work with the animals. I also learned how to play Monopoly.
In the play I was a page for a king and everyone watched me. I asked loads of questions about God and the Bible. And I found a new best friend!”
“When a group visits the farm it makes a dramatic difference to our lives.
When children and young people return, we can see how much they have matured in the meantime. This time there was an enormous list of jobs to be done and we had enough help to get through them all. We wanted everyone to experience as close as possible what it would have been like to have been at Bethlehem when Jesus was born. We could make it as if people were actually on a journey round the farm and in the fields. This was the first and only run-through – no dress rehearsals and practice! It’s different from being in church where it’s listening to readings and standing up and sitting down in the same place.”
Debbie (Shallowford Trust Manager)