A pioneering school in Bromsgrove which caters for young people with behavioural and emotional difficulties is to create its very own farm within the school grounds, thanks to a donation from the Cadbury Schweppes Foundation.
Some £5,000 was awarded to Hunters Hill Technology College in Blackwell after a teacher from the school applied for funding.
The money will be used to set up a smallholding within the school's 100 acres of field and woodlands, enabling the students to keep chickens, ducks and even a small flock of sheep.
It is hoped that the farm will allow students to learn a wide range of skills - from animal husbandry and horticultural skills right through to marketing and selling their own produce - all of which will stand them in good stead when they join the job market.
Teacher Sarah Hussey explained: "Since joining the school three years ago, I've always felt that the lives of these children would be significantly enhanced by the presence of animals and 'hands on' outdoor experiences, such as caring for livestock and growing their own fruit and vegetables.
"With this in mind, I introduced a small flock of laying hens and the success was phenomenal.
"Children who normally find responsibility too hard a task are now looking after, feeding, cleaning and collecting the eggs on a daily basis.
"The farm will enable even more of our students to benefit from this type of learning and encourage them to take responsibility for their own individual projects."
Hunters Hill applied to the Cadbury Schweppes Foundation on the recommendation of Peter Field, who is both Chair of Governors for the school and the Cadbury business link manager for the Community Office.
Peter said: "Cadbury has a longstanding relationship with the school - in fact, Hunters Hill was once owned by the Cadbury family who gave the house and grounds to the community in the 1930s.
"When Sarah told me of her hope to create a farm for the students, I urged her to contact the Foundation and am over the moon to hear that their funding bid has been successful. 2008 is officially the Year of Food & Farming, so teaching children more about the journey their food makes from farm to fork is now more relevant than ever.
"This is an incredibly deserving project and we're thrilled to be able to help Sarah and her students get it off the ground - we wish them every success."