The vision hasn’t changed, but the merger with Leeds Children’s Charity in 2018 ensured its services were now geared towards offering much-needed respite care for the most disadvantaged young people in Leeds.
Many young people have visited Lineham Farm having never had a holiday, seen farm animals, ridden a bike, or even slept in their own bed. Fundraising and events manager Megan Phillips said: “Lineham Farm is a sanctuary for people. It gives them a little bit of a break away from what their normality is.”
It primarily works with schoolchildren aged seven to 11, as well as care services and children who come from a background of abuse or poverty.
Megan said it has not only “exceeded what the expectations were” but also had a “really positive impact” on the Leeds community. Lineham Farm was visited by more than 1,200 children annually in its early years and now hosts 2,500 children each year.
The farmhouse partners with inner city schools and uses multisystemic therapy, a treatment programme aimed at supporting families to reduce the need for children and young people to become looked after in care.
Lineham Farms hosts special events for such families in need. Megan said: “This means they can come out of whatever kind of difficult home life that they have at home. It helps kind of recreate that bond between the whole family.”
The 120-acre farmhouse is also an attractive wedding venue and all profits earned are returned to Leeds Children’s Charity, which in turn helps the venue invite more children to visit.
Earlier this month, Leeds United announced its partnership with Lineham Farm. The club will work closely with Leeds Children's Charity to promote awareness of the work being done at Lineham Farm.
Director Dave Norman said: “It's fantastic. Leeds United – one of the most famous football teams in the world – and we are looking to be able to work with them for a season.
“Everybody keeps asking what it means for the charity: extra exposure, additional access to people who want to support our work. But more importantly it's about what it means for the children.
“You should have seen the faces of the young kids at Lineham Farm when the players came [to visit]. They can see their heroes. They've got stories to tell. There’s very little opportunity to access that kind of excitement.
"Running around Lineham Farm with their heroes, playing games with the people that they look up to and respect and doing it in a loving, warm friendly environment. It's fantastic. For the kids, it really is.”
Celebrations for its 30th anniversary are due to take place next month, on October 13, and visions for a new campsite will also be unveiled at the ceremony as Lineham Farm looks ahead at the next three decades.
Megan said: “We sit on so much land here, we want to utilise that land as much as possible towards us achieving our mission. It’s going to enable us to have a lot more children here at any given time.”
Dave added: “We can't possibly work with all children in poverty, but we want to work with as many as possible. That’s where this campsite comes in, because we're nearly at capacity within Lineham Farm.”
He added: “The farm has changed so much over the years, but it's changed so little. It still does what it was always intended to do and it's fantastic, that these things are started and that are able to continue. I've just been very privileged to play such a small role. Without the team, it wouldn’t have gone 30 years. It wouldn’t have a future.”