Mount Lodge Young Farmers’ Club Report 2020 & 2021

It has been an interesting couple of years!

Mount Lodge YFC started lockdown on a high, just squeezing in our 5th Anniversary of Mount Lodge Farm Dinner Dance at London Beach Hotel, the last weekend before restrictions were put in place. A meal followed by auction, raffle and dancing raised funds for Mount Lodge Farm & YFC, Hospice in the Weald and Pilgrims Hospice.

Following this, the farm became quiet, with no one around other than the animals, so we thought why not bring the farm to your homes! Staff became inventive with crazy YouTube videos, quizzes and games via Zoom and activities to send out regularly to all our members. Our YFC presentation was also a virtual one this year, with photos of everyone enjoying themselves at the farm, which we were all looking forward to once normality returned.

Winter came and our members in true young farmers style braved the elements – rain, wind, snow, ice and a lot of mud! We met with no access to our inside buildings on the farm due to COVID, we were cold, but it meant we could be together and have some long overdue fun!

In November we said goodbye to Ed, one of our New Forest ponies who went back to enjoy his life with his previous owners. This meant we had an empty stable… so said ‘hello’ to Oona & Vera,

our Miniature Shetland & British Spotted pony foals! These two girls have certainly kept us entertained over the past year and have fit right in with their cheeky attitudes.

Sadly, over Christmas and into the New Year we were back online, with more YouTube videos, more quizzes & games and more activities. We even got the staff and lots of members cooking at home.

But, at last, after a long Winter, our farm members were welcomed back at a lovely time of year – lambing! Mount Lodge Farm saw 60 lambs leaping around this year from both our commercial flock and our Pedigree Black Welsh Mountain flock, the members all got stuck in and many of them completing a sheep care course.

Just as lambing was over, we were then greeted by our very first calves born at Mount Lodge Farm. Chesnut & Olive gave birth to a lovely bull calf each in May, Sidney & Stanley. All our members have loved seeing them grow up and our girls are now running with Knobby the Red Devon bull again.

As the weather continued to improve and restrictions eased, the club were able to do more outside. This summer we held three ‘Summer Yard Sales’, one a month, where the farm was open for the afternoon to help raise funds for MLYFC, Team Ben Hammond via CRY and Mind. We also had a tombola alongside as well as selling plants and home-reared lamb boxes.

As we spent a lot of time outside this year, the plant production was on a big scale in 2021! Both of our poly tunnels were brimmed with stunning flowers and plants all grown with care by our farm members.

Show season was a little different this year, starting the year off with the virtual Heathfield show which several of our members entered. This then inspired us to get involved with the South of England Show YFC Crafts section, which meant lots of our Saturdays were filled with crafts and creativity. It all paid off in the end as Mount Lodge YFC was awarded the club with the highest points at the event. Shows were on the up from this point, with the news that the Kent County Show would be hosting an alternative event, the ‘Kent County Summer Fayre’. This is the highlight of our members year, so to have this to look forward to and prep for really lifted the club spirits. After remembering what we had to do, we pulled it out the bag with a cracking show with our 21 sheep, 4 cattle and 48 craft entries resulting in the club coming 2nd overall! All our members loved taking such a variety of ages and breeds of animals, with the whole event about YFC coming back together again. Bring on 2022!

Following on from a manic couple of months, we hosted some more laidback Saturday YFC sessions, for example – our farm Olympics day.  Like lots of the nation, we were hooked on the Tokyo Olympics, so we thought, why not host our own! In August our YFC and staff held the ‘Mount Lodge YFC Farm Olympics’ with blind folded sheep haltering (on a toy sheep), egg tossing, obstacle courses, running, Pictionary and more – all whilst ducking in and out of the torrential rain. No Olympics would be complete without medals, the day ended with a ceremony and lots of sore legs.

As we neared the end of the summer, we hosted a Summer Family Afternoon to thank everyone who had supported us over the past year at both Mount Lodge YFC & Care Farm. It was a chance for families, carersand friends to come together and enjoy each other’s company. Everyone brought their own picnic and the day consisted of afternoon teas, a dog show, classic cars & vehicles, games, and even a sheep grand national! We all had such a great day that it will be back in the diary for next year.

To round of the summer season our staff headed over to the Edenbridge & Oxted Show on a beautifully sunny weekend with some of our Pedigree Black Welsh Mountain sheep, they placed well and really got us looking forward to the show season to come the next year. It was a relaxed weekend for our staff to enjoy after what has been a crazy 18 months.

When the new membership year started in September, we made our way to the Weald of Kent Ploughing Match to run a stand with Ashford YFC & Weald of Kent YFC to help encourage new members to the clubs. MLYFC had a hectic day with our tombola and games, eventually selling out!

Plans going forward for the Autumn months of the club have commenced, with an Autumn Afternoon going ahead – complete with pumpkin carving and a scavenger hunt; a Saturday to make a Guy Fawkes and enjoy a bonfire & BBQ and also a game or two of bowling!

This year also will see the return of our successful Christmas Open Days & Grottos in December, we will complete 2021 with our YFC Presentations and Christmas Party.

Mount Lodge YFC is looking forward to heading into the new year and looking to the future. With our younger, original members now getting older and more responsible they’re helping shape the club into what they would like to get out of MLYFC for them and their fellow members.



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