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Lambs receive a helping hand

Lambs receive a helping hand

Groups from Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and Darwen helped welcome new lambs into the world thanks to Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s People and the DALES (Diversity, Access, Learning, Environment, Sustainability) project.

People from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds took part in seven hands-on lambing events with Ribblehead farmer Rodney Beresford.

Judy Rogers, Project Officer at YDMT said: “It was fantastic to be able to help Rodney once again after last year’s plans were affected by covid.

“The groups were predominately refugees and asylum seekers living in unsuitable hotel accommodation in the inner cities, for whom a day out in the Yorkshire Dales was literally a breath of fresh air.

“Many had not ventured outside their city since arriving in the UK, and were fasting as lambing coincided with Ramadan, so this was their first experience of being out in the English countryside.”

Visits to Rodney’s farm are very much hands on and begin with a tour of the barn to look at any sheep that might be poorly before seeing the pregnant ewes.

Often, groups get involved in helping lambs to be born – vital pairs of hands for the farmer at this busy time – and helping to round up the new-borns for tagging.

Judy added: “It is a really busy time for Rodney so he organises his lambing so that groups can help him as much as possible. He can spot someone who has farming experience too; whether they come from Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, or the Sudan, and makes sure to use their skills during the visit.

“It’s thanks to Rodney that these events can happen, and we look forward to seeing him again next year.”

It is the 16th year that groups have been part of day-to-day life at Ribblehead.

Long term partner of the project, John East, said: “Our group from Darwen really enjoyed the trip to see Rodney. The group told me they felt warmly greeted and part of a team. One member, Catherine, was nearly in tears as she enjoyed having the opportunity to mix and feel safe in such warm company. Both the men want to come again as they enjoyed new experiences in a non-threatening and patronising way. All felt the excitement and outside experience fulfilling – most of which had never been outside Darwen for months.”

More than 10,000 people have taken part in the People and the Dales project, which is supported by a variety of partners including the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Lambing is an obvious highlight of the experience the project offers, but groups also enjoy nature walks, environmental and craft activities, practical work, and respite residentials.


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