Whilst writing earlier posts about the award winning children’s author and former Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo, I became interested in hearing more of what he had to say about the charity work he and his wife do, to help inner city children.
The charity is called, ‘Farms For City Children’ and it’s inception came about at a time when moral was low for the couple.
Michael knew that, although both he and Clare were still teaching, he wanted to write, but his books had so far achieved limited success. He knew that something was missing and that he had not yet ‘found his voice’ as an author.
The couple also felt that many of the children they were teaching suffered from a profound poverty of experience, that school could so often be restricting for them, that their horizons needed expanding and that their lives needed to be enriched. Their extensive research, led them to believe that time spent in the countryside, away from school and family, could only be beneficial for them… Thus, with the help of some close friends, ‘Farms For City Children’, was born.There are a total of three farms, where children from urban primary schools, come in groups of about 35, with accompanying teachers. This is an all year round hands-on experience, enabling the children to gain experience of all the day to day jobs on the farm. The scheme is used in conjunction with many aspects of the National Curriculum and has also won The Country Life Award For Rural Enterprise Of The Year.
There is a fascinating interview with Michael, which one of the National newspapers carried and there is extensive reference to the charity on his website. it is obviously something he holds very dear to his heart and is passionate about.
Michael is typical of the type of person, that I personally think should hold the office of Children’s Laureate, where, not only is his writing being rewarded, but he can be held up as an example of someone who is willing to give both resources and, more importantly time, to a project that will hopefully continue to benefit disadvantaged children, for many years to come, as well as being patron to several other charities and trusts.
The final words go to Michael:
“For me, the greater part of writing is daydreaming, dreaming the dream of my story until it hatches out – the writing down of it I always find hard. But I love finishing it, then holding the book in my hand and sharing my dream with my readers.”