19 May 2016

JB Gill joins school children on a visit to a farm.

IMG_3346Budding farmer and CBeebies presenter, JB Gill, once of boy band JLS, has joined school children on a visit to a farm.

JB Gill has visited the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Allerton Project research farm in Leicestershire. A keen farmer, JB seeks to inspire people to experience the countryside and learn more about the impact of farming methods on the environment.

On Monday 16 May, JB joined children from Holy Cross primary school, Leicester, on a visit hosted by the GWCT’s Allerton Project, and organised by national education charity The Country Trust. The aim was for the children to observe and learn more about how farmers can increase wildlife numbers, improve soil health and continue to provide food for a growing population.

Formerly of the boy band JLS, JB has since found his feet in the farming world and is presenter of the CBeebies programme ‘Down on the Farm’. JB said: “My visit to the Allerton Project was eye-opening. Not only learning about the best farming practices for both crop-yield and wildlife, but also to see how the educational visits are run. I’m keen to support this as it’s something I would like to replicate on my own farm in Kent.”

The visit brought into the focus just how important it is for urban children to gain access to food, farming and the countryside. Jill Attenborough, Chief Executive of The Country Trust, said: “We are passionate about bringing the working countryside alive for those children least able to access it. Today’s visit showed how working farms can provide amazing experiences which fuel the imagination and inspire children to learn more about the world around them.”

The Allerton Project has over five years of experience of delivering visits for primary school children. JB joined the first of the 2016 series of school events, during which over 200 children from across the East Midlands will be visiting the farm.

IMG_3558Jim Egan, GWCT’s Head of Education and Development for the Allerton Project, said: “These school events are some of the most rewarding days of my working year. It’s incredible how you can cover such a large amount of the primary school curriculum in one day on a farm.

After the visit, JB took the opportunity to hear about the Allerton Project in more depth on a tour around the farm Dr Alastair Leake, GWCT’S Director of Policy. This gave JB the opportunity to see the huge amount of work that the Allerton Project is undertaking and how the GWCT works with global brands and farmers, offering practical advice and sharing their farmland research.

Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is an independent wildlife conservation charity which carries out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 40 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming and statistics.  We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies.   The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

The GWCT’s Allerton Project: The GWCT’s Allerton Project is an 800 acre commercial farm business attached to a Research and Educational charitable trust. The Project was established in 1992 with the objective of demonstrating how modern efficient farming and environmental conservation can co-exist. The development of the education objectives of the Trust has expanded substantially to several thousand visitors a year including school groups, politicians and farmers, thus necessitating the construction of a larger visitor centre. The challenge of converting a disused brick cowshed into a sustainable building was given to architect Sylvester Cheung from Melton Mowbray. 60 per cent of construction costs were obtained as a grant from the Rural Development Programme for England.

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