Swansea Community Farm is once again facing closure unless it can get support from the public and businesses of Swansea and raise £50,000 before the end of March.
Swansea Community Farm is a community led, multi-award winning, charitable organisation, which like many other small charities is finding it more and more difficult to fund its running and management costs. Its core Volunteer and Child and Youth programmes have some funding from external sources beyond March 2017, but the day to day running costs like heating, lighting, insurance and administration do not.
Covering these costs is vital for the only city farm in Wales to continue into the future and if they don’t raise £50,000 by the end of March they will be facing a very serious possibility of closure. They are seeking £25,000 through a Crowdfunding campaign and a further £25,000 from other sources including grants, government and business.
This money will enable the Farm to continue for 6 months during which time it will look to develop partnerships with larger organisations that share its aims of reconnecting people with their food, their environment and each other.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Farm and without them it could not exist. They range for 8 years to 80 years old and are an extremely committed and passionate bunch of people who in 2015, gave over 16,600 hours of their time to help run the Farm. In return the Farm provides them with a safe environment; a sense of community spirit; develops their confidence, health and wellbeing; gives them a chance to learn new skills; make new friends and support them during their time at the Farm.
The purpose designed site set in 3.5 acres in Fforestfach has been built by the volunteers and has been evolving and developing for since 1998. They offer free access to the public and provide a fantastic urban green space for children and adults alike where they can get get close to nature and the Farm’s friendly animals.
The Farm is also an Agored Cymru training centre and since 2012 have been successfully delivering a range of accredited NOCN courses in cooking skills and healthy eating, food growing, nature conservation skills and animal care.
The Farm has an array of amazing and fully accessible facilities and attractions including:
a variety of rare-breed farm animals that are well loved by all visitors and volunteers
a training kitchen and community café where people learn about healthy cooking
education room and volunteer workshop, accessible toilets, reception, offices, tool stores and rainwater harvesting storage
Bee hives and thousands of bees who produce amazing honey each year
purpose built outdoor mud kitchen where younger visitors enjoy getting their hands and feet dirty
established orchards; demonstration gardens; wildlife habitats and an allotment where volunteers grow vegetables and learn about healthy eating
Talking about the Farm, Chair of Board of Trustees, Nerys Edmonds, said: “This amazing community farm has been built over twenty years by the hard work of volunteers, staff and local people. So many people have had the chance to learn new skills, build their confidence, care for animals and grow and eat healthy food. It has helped bring people together of all ages and backgrounds. We want to make sure it is here for at least another twenty years for the wellbeing of the local community.”
“In the short term, we need £50,000 to help us survive for 6 months and ensure we stay open while we work on viable alternatives to keep us open in the long term.”
“In the long term, we are looking to build a long term partnership with another organisation. We can offer a fantastic site, facilities, experience and community engagement suitable for training, environmental and wellbeing related activities. In return we hope that a partnership can offer the Farm a more secure and sustainable future going forward.”
Speaking about his time at the Farm, Director Phil Budd said: “I’ve been lucky enough to be at the Farm for since 2003 and it’s been great to be part of its growth as a much loved and valued community resource. What’s been even more amazing is to see how our work has really changed people’s lives for the good - it’s a project that really does make a difference. A ’perfect storm’ of government austerity, cuts in council services and support, increased competition for grants and growth of service commissioning is making like really difficult for small charities like the Farm to survive. That’s why we’re looking to new ways of working to hopefully survive into the future.”
If you are a business and think you can help the Farm by offering a partnership, please contact the Farm to arrange a site visit. If you a member of public and would like to pledge to their crowdfunding appeal, visit http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-our-farm-swansea-community-farm-needs-you