A Taste of Paradise farm is a Not for Profit registered charity based in a peaceful valley near Berry. The organisation has been operating since 1999 under the capable and caring watch of founders – Tim and Andrea Francis.
Tim came from a family heritage of Social Justice and this, combined with his love of farming, led him to volunteer work with young people. When the opportunity came to purchase the farm, Tim, along with his supportive and like-minded wife, Andrea, decided this was their chance to make a difference to young people. Tim had a vision of using his skills, (such as Farm Management, Permaculture, Horticulture and Working with Challenging Children), to mentor at-risk and disadvantaged young people, in the farm environment. Tim’s aim was to assist youth, who came from a variety of care situations, with wide-ranging issues such as mental health, intellectual and physical disabilities and behavioural issues (often related to adult neglect and abuse). Tim and Andrea’s Christian ethos and selfless desire to make a difference, saw them embark on a ambitious venture which combined ethical farming and supporting young people in need.
Tim saw the farm as a peaceful place and recognised the benefits of young people interacting with animals and the natural environment. He saw how a horse could heal a young person in a way that a human couldn’t. He also realised that a lot of the kids coming to the farm had never tasted fresh food. Introducing them to the process of food production proved to be a grounding and healing experience, with the additional benefit of developing skills for future employment.
Over time, demand for A Taste of Paradises’ services increased as referring agencies saw the therapeutic benefits the farm was having on young people. Tim’s programmes were working, whilst a lot of other programmes were failing the kids they were designed to help. Andrea and Tim saw many young people coming to the farm that were disillusioned with life and harbouring a lot of resentment after being let down by the people and authorities who were meant to help them. This only increased Tim and Andrea’s commitment to their work and the charity.