Last October I was encouraged to put the Farm Education Centre in for the BayerFACE awards. These are National Awards celebrating excellent farm based education. Bayer (cropscience) and FACE (farming and countryside education) join together biannually to hand out awards for providers of education on farms. We were delighted earlier this year to receive an invite to the Banking Hall in London to join with others who were shortlisted for the awards.
The day of the luncheon came and myself, Nathan and Jane caught the train to London - country bumpkins on tour. We made our way to the Banking Hall where we met with people from Bayer and FACE as well as others who had come to support the awards from Harper Adams University and Farms For City Children. As we networked and met others who had been shortlisted we soon realised that we are quite a new establishment in comparison to our competitors. Several times it was mentioned to me 'WOW, three years, and you've been shortlisted already!'
The category we had entered for the awards was the Farm School Partnership; the description of which was as follows; For a farm fostering successful relationships with one or several schools, making a valuable and sustained contribution to school life both on and away from the farm. This might include contribution to curriculum activities, helping with growing activities or developing an ongoing programme of learning.
We sat as the judge for this particular award read out the criteria and described a farm that might win this, thinking 'if we haven't won, we're very close!' until finally the winner was announced...WE WON! Over the moon, I walked up and collected the award and we watched a short video they'd put together for us. The video can be found here
My heart returned to it's normal pace and between the three of us we exchanged ecstatic glances and proud smiles, now more confident that we're doing a really good job here. Mum sent Dad a text (under the table like a distracted school pupil) and we listened as the last two very worthy winners were announced for their category.
Finally, the overall winner was to be announced - we didn't realise there was such an award as an overall winner. We assumed this was an award for someone else who had blown us category winners out of the water with exemplary work. To our astonishment....our name was announced! Now teary, feeling so incredibly honoured to have won, I went to collect the award.
We were all so glad to be the winners of the award, it adds value to the work we are doing here and has helped us to really recognise the positive impact we're having on young lives.