This year marks 30 years since Lineham Farm opened its doors to the children of Leeds. Lineham Farm was opened in 1993, following a full building renovation project led by the Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Denise Atkinson MBE.
The oldest part of Lineham Farm (the main farm barn which is now the lounge area) dates to the 17th century. The farm and its buildings were disused, but Denise Atkinson saw the potential and the centre was opened to serve the young people of Leeds.
Here are some photos from the early years of Lineham Farm:
Lineham 30th Birthday Celebration
Since its opening in 1993, Lineham Farm has become a safe haven for children in Leeds from backgrounds of challenge and disadvantage. We now have an average of 2,500 children visit each year, each child experiencing the happiness, warmth, and fun that is a break at Lineham.
To celebrate the milestone, we held a 30th birthday event at Lineham. We invited former employees, existing staff and trustees, and friends of Leeds Children’s Charity at Lineham Farm. We were joined by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, and businesses and individual supporters from across the city. We also invited partner organisations, schools, and other community groups who we work closely with.
30 years of brightening children’s lives
The day was a chance to collectively celebrate what we have built here at Lineham Farm. We have created a place where generations of Leeds children can find peace of mind. Children from some of the most deprived areas in Leeds come here and make lifelong happy memories.
We celebrated those who have made a lasting legacy to Lineham Farm, including Denise Atkinson; The Wooden Spoon; Joyce Mary Mountain; St James’s Place; Leeds District Union of Golf Clubs and many more individuals and organisations across West Yorkshire.
We heard from Tim Simpson, Trustee at Leeds Children’s Charity at Lineham Farm and the son of Denise Atkinson. Tim reflected on the lasting impact of his mother’s incredible work. Our CEO, Dave Norman, and Lead Activity Worker, Tamzin Glindon, spoke about the work currently being done at Lineham Farm and how this is made possible by our wonderful supporters and brilliant staff team.
Our special guests included some of the people who experience the value of Lineham Farm first-hand. Graham Jones, senior Teacher at Castleton Primary School spoke about what the children get out of their time at Lineham. Jayne Harris, who is a Therapy Support Worker for MST-CAN Leeds, told us about what Lineham Farm means for the families she works with.
Finally, we heard from our guest of honour, Kai, who is aged 10 and attends Grimesdyke Primary School. Kai spoke to the whole group and delivered a heartfelt and eloquent speech about what Lineham Farm means to him. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room! Here is what Kai said:
Why I like Lineham Farm by Kai
“I like coming to Lineham Farm because it is a refuge for me. Everyone is welcome, even children with disabilities are included in everything. You don’t have to worry if you don’t know how to do something or are a bit scared, the amazing staff will always help you. They make you feel safe.
“Lineham Farm is full of nature. It has animals you can care for and woods where you can learn to light fires and play games with your friends. My favourite activities are the ones that include nature such as walking through streams. You never need electronics at Lineham!
“The food is always excellent, and you can always have more if you are hungry. Nobody is ever hungry or cold at Lineham. It doesn’t matter if you forget things because Lineham Farm has everything you need including fleeces, wellies, and coats. You can even get a toothbrush and some toothpaste.
“Recently I came to Lineham in the summer and met some Leeds United players, that was a very special treat. I think that people should donate lots of money to Lineham so that more children like me can visit.
Along with the speeches, we had a delicious celebration lunch, including handmade pizzas from Simmer Kitchen, and lots of baked treats. Of course, we had a brilliant birthday cake!
Guest went on a tour of the farm, including the beautiful woodlands and outdoor spaces. They got involved in some of the activities, like climbing, archery, and bushcraft. We finished the afternoon toasting popcorn and marshmallows on the fire and Kai showed the adults how it’s done!
Sharing our future plans
Alongside celebrating everything we’ve achieved so far, the day was an opportunity to speak about our exciting plans for the future. The charity team explained the plans to expand the provision to offer new experiences and increase the number of yearly visitors to the farm.
We shared our plans to build a dedicated campsite – the #Lineham30for30 campsite challenge – which we have been fundraising for this year. The dedicated campsite will include showering and cooking facilities, and camping pods that can be used all year round.
Can you support our campsite challenge?
We are asking our supporters and the people of Yorkshire to get involved in any way they can. Be it businesses, schools, community groups, families, or individuals, we are asking people to fundraise and donate to enrich the experience of local children when they visit the farm. Find out more about the campsite challenge and how you can help.