Gorgie City Farm still at risk with donations trailing off

Garden project co-ordinator Tracy Cudworth feeds the pigs. Picture: Jon Savage

Garden project co-ordinator Tracy Cudworth feeds the pigs. Picture: Jon Savage

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A SLOW-DOWN in donations to Gorgie City Farm has sparked further pleas for a final push to save the attraction.

The first days of the campaign to save the much-loved farm saw a strong surge, with £30,000 raised in just three days. But a fortnight later donations have trailed off to an average of £2000 a day, and this is is expected to fall off “considerably” in the coming weeks. The farm has so far received £65,000 but the charity has begged people to dig even deeper to help them hit their £100,000 target.

There really is a sense of desperation now. We are extremely grateful for everything but we still have a long way to go.

Josiah Lockhart

Josiah Lockhart, general manager of the farm, said: “We have seen overwhelming support from the community which has really shown that they want Gorgie Farm to continue into the future.But that being said, support is slowing down and it’s getting harder to get the second half. We really need to continue and keep doing things to secure the future of the farm.

“There really is a sense of desperation now. We are extremely grateful for everything but we still have a long way to go. The sooner we get there the more secure the farm will be.”

Charity bosses have revealed that they are now in talks with “three major funders” which would also help to secure the farm’s long-term future.The money would give the venue the cushion needed to develop a “business strategy”, including a rolling programme of funding from national charities. Hitting the £100,000 target sooner would give staff a longer breathing space to work towards ensuring the farm stays open.

The farm is looking into the best use of the former cafe business, which closed in January, and will also be “more focussed” on collecting donations.

Staff will look at how to attract more people to the farm through educational and social enterprise programmes.

And while they have not ruled out charging to see the resident animals – a move suggested by the visitors themselves – Mr Lockhart stressed the farm would be much more likely to remain as a “free and open public resource”.

So far the farm has benefitted from support from local businesses including Sainsbury’s, which collected £3909 in a week across six stores.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has donated £100 to the farm after winning a bet with Labour counterpart Kezia Dugdale to ask the Prince of Wales what he bought his “maw” for her birthday.

Money is also set to come in for a series of fundraising events organised by the community, including an 81-mile bike ride, abseiling down St John’s Church on Princes St and a firewalk.

Back in 1977, the land on which the farm lies was derelict and several plans were mooted to build houses there.

Since it opened as Gorgie City Farm in 1982, tens of thousands of visitors each year have been able to experience farm life at first hand.

But spiralling running costs and a slump in external funding led to an urgent plea for £100,000 amid fears the attraction could close.

• To make a donation, please text “FARM44 £5” to 70070, visit www.justgiving.com/gorgiecityfarmassociation or send a cheque to GORGIE CITY FARM, 51 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2LA