Established in 2003, Dandelion Time is a charitable project for children and young people traumatised by abuse, neglect or having early life attachment difficulties. Children may be displaying emotional distress through aggressive or withdrawn behaviour, their issues having led to conflict at home and withdrawal or exclusion from school.
Dandelion Time provides practical farm-based developmental activities and a therapeutic service to help children overcome past suffering, develop in confidence and self-esteem and discover a new and positive path to follow. Their aim is to improve each child’s emotional wellbeing and resilience so they are better able to lead full and happy lives and be a positive force within their communities as they enter adulthood.
Dandelion Time works with the child and the wider family, believing that family relationships and bonds are vital in helping a child overcome their difficulties and are often a key factor in their issues. Bringing together members of the family (and on occasion professionals and others important to the child) allows family relationships to be fostered and, with the guidance and encouragement of supportive and skilled therapeutic staff, helps to build self-respect, empathy and positive communication.
In a combination of one-to-one and group family sessions, families take part in practical farm and craft activities in which they engage with the natural world and processes, bringing therapeutic and developmental benefits whilst families enjoy being together in a relaxed supportive environment.
Work on the farm caring for animals and growing and harvesting vegetables helps children to expand their senses as a natural process in a natural environment. Children’s sense of responsibility and self-worth develop as they learn to care and be nurturing and compassionate towards trusting creatures. Families use the farm’s produce to prepare and cook meals; eating together, alongside other families, cooperating and sharing in joint activities.
With the support of positive and encouraging role models, children work creatively with their hands in craft activities using clay, wool and wood. These peaceful and absorbing activities help to build a sense of achievement as children complete enjoyable projects, learn new skills and discover the benefits of patience and perseverance. Children gain a sense of purpose, developing in confidence and self-esteem whilst becoming more in touch with their senses and the world around them.
Creative and expressive activities including music, art and drama help children to develop a sense of imagination and improvisation, learning how to express their feelings in non-destructive ways and relate to others without conflict, gaining a new understanding of boundaries and trust. These activities assist to shift negative behavioural patterns and nurture positive communication within families.
The calming rural setting of Dandelion’s gardens and farm provides a great opportunity for children to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of physical activities. Outdoor games and exercise promote good physical and mental health and an enjoyment of the outdoors, providing families with space to breathe and relax which is so often lacking in their day-to-day lives.
Their work is tailored to meet individual needs and they are highly flexible in the support they offer. Every referred child’s circumstances are different and they have found that key to successful support is to offer alternative approaches that really meet the child’s individual needs.
Where is Dandelion Time