Our need for social connection is greater than ever. Human beings are a social species; we rely on each other to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, modern life has led to many people living more and more isolated lives, leading to loneliness and depression.

This has been exacerbated by the recent lockdown and stresses caused by Covid-19. It has confirmed what we already know; social distancing goes against our very nature. Good relationships are good for our mental wellbeing!

Twenty years of research and study into the effects of loneliness led Professor John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago to the worrying conclusion that loneliness can affect life-expectancy; shortening lives. He noted the importance of having social connections that go beyond romantic or family relationships, and the particular need for friendships in which people give and receive in equal measure. That even “superficial” social interactions such as a quick chat while waiting in line at the supermarket can benefit mental wellbeing.

Eight years earlier, in 2008, two psychologists, Nancy Guerra and Catherine Bradshaw, observed that “the perception or experience that one is loved and cared for by others, esteemed and valued, and part of a social network of mutual assistance and obligations” is not only a requirement for the mental wellbeing of all, but also a key requirement for the healthy development of young people.

On the opposite end of the scale, according to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.

Vincent Van Gogh

Holme Farm Community Workshops and Gardens will provide our community, young and old alike, with the opportunity to connect to other people and build a sense of purpose and self-worth. Cooperating with others to create a space within which people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy nature, be physically active, learn new skills or just enjoy the peace of being away from the daily hustle and bustle of life.

Once Holme Farm is underway, we invite you join us to do precisely that. We are excited to turn an area which at the moment is just plain grass fields into wildflower meadows and areas of woodland. Rewilding the land with native species will increase the biodiversity of our natural spaces, benefiting wildlife and
people. Neuroscientific research has shown us that areas of biodiverse nature has a particular positive benefit for mental wellbeing. The simplest of natural elements, like bird song or frog sounds or wildflower smells, can help calm body, mind and soul; increasing happiness.

The team behind Home Farm have been working towards making our vision of a better, healthier and more connected community in Runnymede a reality.

We need your support in making our case to local and national Government to allow the creation of Holme Farm – a community hub providing a range of courses and activities; with a café, gardens, family areas, orchard and apiary to boot. Along the way, you’ll meet fabulous people who will teach you all there is
to know about bees and local wildlife, how to create art from nature, grow gardens, and even make mud kitchens. Naturally, we will provide you with tea, coffee and a chat!

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