News: Jimmy's Farm hoping to harvest £2m lottery grant for Papworth Trust


Above: Luke, Lucy, Jimmy and Sophie at Jimmy's Farm.
Above: Luke, Lucy, Jimmy and Sophie at Jimmy's Farm.

This Sunday, Channel 4 viewers will discover whether celebrity farmer Jimmy Doherty has secured £2 million from the Big Lottery Fund for charity Papworth Trust to develop a farm offering free short breaks to disabled people and their families.

The project features in the second episode of the brand new TV series The Secret Millions, which will air on Sunday 24 March at 8pm. The series sees the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) team up with Channel 4 to highlight radical ideas for tackling some of Britain's big issues. The successful projects get a share of The Secret Millions £10 million funding pot, the largest amount ever handed out on a Channel 4 series.

In this episode, Jimmy helps test a new way of giving a much-needed break to families which include a disabled person. Joining forces with Papworth Trust, Jimmy welcomes families needing respite to his own farm, teaching them new skills such as making their own sausages and cooking them together, so they can share quality time without the stress of their everyday caring routine.

Jimmy volunteers at one of Papworth Trust's Youth Clubs for disabled teenagers to make new friends and have fun. While he's there, Jimmy is looking for families who might benefit from a stay on his farm. One of the teenagers Jimmy chooses to take part in the trial is 19-year-old Luke from Peterborough. Luke has Down's Syndrome and was joined by his parents for a stay on the farm.

Luke's Mum Jane said: "The farm experience will stay with us forever. When you've got time to think about things, you put your life into more perspective and think how you should really be spending more time together at home and doing different things. Just enjoying being with each other and having fun."

But what the family didn't know is that there's plenty at stake. If Jimmy can prove the trial works, it could help convince the Big Lottery Fund to give £2 million to Papworth Trust, so the charity can convert a 16th century farm in Wales into an accessible farm offering short breaks for disabled people and their families. As the project develops, Jimmy begins to look at disability in a totally different way. But have they done enough to secure the funding?

Adrian Bagg, Papworth Trust's Chief Executive, said: "At Papworth Trust we understand the impact disability can have. It can be hard to have quality, stress free time together as a family. The Secret Millions gave us the chance to offer short breaks with a difference to families who needed them. It was an amazing experience for the people involved and it made a real difference. We're hoping that we will be able to offer funded breaks to more families across the UK."

Mike Theodolou from the Big Lottery Fund, who secretly observed Papworth Trust in action during the filming process, said: "It was inspiring to see first-hand the difference that just a few hours on Jimmy's Farm made to the young people and their families. I'm sure they are as excited as I am to see their project on Channel 4 and hopefully there will be a life changing surprise at the end of it all."

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