At Jarrow Hall we are incredibly lucky to have such a dedicated, passionate and hardworking volunteering team. Without our incredible volunteering force, Jarrow Hall would not be the unique place that it is today. Ben is a fine example of this. To highlight how he brings so much of his knowledge and passion into every day spent here, he has now been appointed Head Farm Volunteer. 

A photo of a man with brown hair who is smiling. He has a white and brown barn owl on his shoulder. There are green fields in the background.
Our new Head Farm Volunteer, Ben, with his favourite animal, Huf.

A born and bred Shields lad, Ben first came across Jarrow Hall in 2015. Attending Route 2 Work, our specialist education provision, he studied Maths and English. After achieving his qualifications he heard about Groundwork’s Green Gym, a free outdoor programme to improve green spaces whilst providing exercise to the participants. Being fond of practical manual work and the great outdoors, Ben signed up to the Green Gym Scheme and spent his time at Chuter Ede Community Centre helping out in the gardens. Eager to get more work experience and skills under his belt, he then began volunteering at the Groundwork charity shop in South Shields, where he learned customer service and sales skills.  

It was 2016 when he decided to give voluntary work on our Anglo-Saxon farm a try and immediately fell in love with the place. He says that working outdoors and getting to know the animals immediately made him feel happy and content. He also quickly made friends with the other farm volunteers, many of whom he is still friends with today.  

His favourite animal is our barn owl, Huf, who Ben has a special bond with. Ben has managed to help Huf become more happy and confident being around people and he has enormously contributed to Huf’s wellbeing with regular walks though the farm and woods. He is interested in falconry and intends to learn some further skills and knowledge in this field in the future.

A Barn Owl with a brown back and a white chest, facing the camera, on a thick tree branch with more trees behind.
Our Barn Owl, Huf, in a photograph taken by Ben himself.

Today, eight years after first setting foot on the farm, he is an incredibly valuable member of the team. His knowledge, care and understanding of the individual animals and daily needs of the farm mean that he is an integral team member who is greatly appreciated and respected.  

Now Ben has been appointed Head Farm Volunteer, he likens himself to Farm Manager Caleb Cooper on Clarkson’s farm, which he declared with a big grin.  

Feel free to pop by and talk to Ben about his story and journey within Jarrow Hall, he’s always keen on a chat. You’ll more than likely find him pushing around a wheelbarrow full of straw, or with Huf on his shoulder as they take a stroll around the farm.     

If you would like to volunteer on our farm, or in the green spaces of Jarrow Hall, please contact [email protected]. Find out about other opportunities to get involved here.

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