Our Green Vision

Restoring Hope to Young Lives

Dandelion Time works to create hope for children whose lives have been blighted by trauma. They need to believe that they have a viable future and that we can collectively address the growing threats of the climate and ecological emergencies.  Our therapeutic approach has been built on the healing power of nature and we understand clearly our responsibility to protect and restore the natural environment. The core of our work helps to reconnect children and families with the natural world, creating more appreciation, understanding and respect. We are continually working to help create a more sustainable world for children to thrive in.

Climate and Ecological Emergency

Dandelion Time recognises the threat to all our futures posed by the climate and nature emergencies. Our therapeutic approach has been developed with full awareness of the urgency for widespread change. The need for us all to adopt a more sustainable way of life has never been greater. Fortunately, by creating strong nature connections and focussing on healthy locally produced food we can benefit our mental and physical health while helping wildlife and reducing the impact of climate change.

Our efforts in Sustainability 

Sustainable Land Management 

Our land-based programme has been developed to maximise the therapeutic potential of nature to help heal and restore our children and families. A fundamental part of this approach is to encourage a gentle reconnection with and understanding of the natural world, combined with respect and appreciation of the value of nature for our continued health and happiness. For this reason our land and animals have always been managed without chemical inputs and with the minimum of destruction via mechanical devices.

“Thank you for the tranquillity of the setting, the bounty of fruits, vegetables and flowers and for the animal friends” Parent

We have planted nearly 4000 trees and have numerous bird boxes, log piles and dense shrubby areas to provide great bird and small mammal habitat. Wildflowers are abundant and hedgerows groan with wild fruit and berries in the autumn.

Reducing Carbon Emissions

Our new premises have been designed as far as possible within financial constraints to minimise use of energy.  We grow much of the food we use and source the remainder locally where possible, also benefitting considerably from donations from Fareshare, who distribute food that would otherwise be destined for landfill. The food we serve is vegetarian and we prepare most meals from scratch minimising energy use from processing and transport of ingredients.

Staff are trained to minimise energy use and encouraged to share vehicles and travel sustainably as far as possible. Our main branch has a bus service which stops right outside the door.

Minimising Waste and plastic reduction

We have a complex recycling regime, turning most of our organic waste into compost or chicken feed. Compost is used on the land including from our composting toilet! Most of our furniture and equipment is second hand and we use natural materials from the farm for much of our craft work. Single use plastics are avoided as far as possible, drinking water is always from the tap and we make every effort to minimise food waste. We deploy ethical sourcing in all our purchasing, recognising this may often lead to higher costs, but believe this is worth it in terms of the wider societal and environmental benefits.

Spreading the word

Children and families who take part in our programme often change behaviour at home, eating more meals prepared together, taking more walks and valuing the world directly through their senses.  We help develop recipes and ideas to provide food at home that is healthy and sustainable even if the budget is very tight. All our staff and volunteers receive training in working sustainably. Our events such as the May Fair and Christmas Craft Fair demonstrate our use and enjoyment of natural products and sustainably produced food.

Through our teaching programmes we help others to reconnect with nature and to understand its importance in the lives of children and young people.

Though our social media and promotional materials we try to share the joys that closeness to nature can bring. We have also raised awareness of the climate crisis and have actively supported Great Thunberg’s school strike, composing our own song

Recognition 

Kent Environmental Strategy Champion 

We were delighted to be recognised as one of the top six organisations in Kent as a Kent Environmental Strategy Champion. The award was for making a difference to the environment and providing opportunities for people in the community to get involved or consider the local environment

Dr Caroline Jessel, Chair & Founder of Dandelion Time, Chair or Kent Nature Partnership

“Nature needs us and we need nature”

Anna Chilton, Global Sustainability Manager at Camellia Plc

“Dandelion Time is the only organisation I have come across that has developed a proven methodology to integrate counselling, for mental and emotional wellbeing, with hands-on education about the benefits of our natural environment. By focusing on children and young adults, this practice is amplified to deliver a better future for our planet.

At Dandelion, we see therapy move beyond the four walls of a therapy room, into the world around us. Children are encouraged to engage with animals, help grow their own food, and work with natural materials, such as green woodwork. It is well accepted that we forge some of our strongest life dreams and passions in our childhood. Dandelion is creating a solid community of people who will have a chance to experience a connection between their internal world and the natural world around them. In addition, the ethos of the organisation, to protect the wellbeing of our planet and those inhabiting it, resonates throughout the organisation. From carbon reduction initiatives to waste minimisation and regeneration, Dandelion Time is an example of an organisation living with integrity”

Richard Pike, Sustainability Director at COOK

“As a business, COOK has grown up with purpose in its DNA and we work hard to establish long term relationships with partners who share our values and work for a sustainable future.

It is fantastic for us to be able to involved with an organisation like Dandelion Time whose work to nourish young people and their environment through therapy and home grown food is so aligned with our own aim to nourish relationships with People, Community and Planet through food.

Our use of the Yurt for our individual team days throughout the Summer has provided a calm and trusting space for open conversation and the opportunity to descend on the Dandelion team en masse to do some volunteering and see how the team operate has been so rewarding for so many people and, I hope, has been beneficial for the Dandelion team too!”

Children spend time on our farm with animals and crafts to overcome emotional difficulties, grow in confidence and begin to love and trust again
Our Kent Messenger Corporate Volunteers helping plant trees on our site