Barleylands’ Education Officer yields a victory at Rural Business Awards

Congratulations to our very own Karen Watson, Education Officer at Barleylands Farm Park, who has been named Rural Employee of the Year an amazing achievement for her work developing our outstanding education programme.

Karen scooped top prize in the Rural Business Awards at Trinity Park, Ipswich in a celebration of all that is great about rural business in the East.

The regional awards recognise the contribution made to the development and success of the rural sector and rural way of life.

Karen has been Barleylands’ Education Officer since 2010 and heads up Barleylands award-winning education programme. The programme hosts curriculum-linked educational visits from schools across the county and beyond – with over 18,000 school children visiting on a range of educational days last year.

Meanwhile, Barleylands Farm Park was awarded runner up in the Outstanding Rural Diversification category.

Said Chris Philpot, Barleylands:  “We are so proud of Karen, it’s extremely well deserved and we are delighted she has been recognised in this way. Karen is committed to providing first class educational days for young people, her vision is simple – she wants children to flourish and learn, and be inspired about farming and the rural way of life.”

Karen collected her award, accompanied by colleagues from the Billericay Farm Park. She said: “It is a huge honour and privilege and a great recognition for the whole team.

Whether it’s cooking seasonal snacks, baking bread, harvesting food from our educational polytunnel, or learning about the animals on the farm, we strive to create rich hands on experiences and memories – and we love what we do.”