Gorgie City Farm's prayers answered as churches back appeal

CHURCH leaders have started talks about how best to help save the cash-strapped Gorgie City Farm.

Friday, 20th May 2016, 10:03 am
Updated Friday, 20th May 2016, 11:07 am
Tyler Paget, 14, and Moira Black volunteer at Gorgie City Farm. Picture: Jane Barlow
Tyler Paget, 14, and Moira Black volunteer at Gorgie City Farm. Picture: Jane Barlow

Pastors from several local congregations discussed fundraising during a meeting at the Saltyard Cafe run by the Gorgie Dalry Stenhouse Parish Church.

The move comes as the drive to save the much-loved urban attraction hits the £75,000 milestone despite a recent slowdown in donations.

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The campaign saw £30,000 raised in just three days but the torrent of cash has become a trickle, with the farm now receiving under £700 a day.

Among those offering to help is Saint Martin of Tours Episcopal Church, which will hold two dances at its Community Resource Centre on Dalry Road.

The first will be a “family welly ceilidh” on Saturday, June 18 aimed at pre-school children and under-fives, while the second will be a more traditional ceilidh for adults.

Reverend John Conway, the rector of St Martin’s, said he hoped the twin events – organised to coincide with Dalry’s Sharing Secrets Festival from June 13 until June 19 – would raise up to £1500 for the farm.

He added: “We are aware of the plight of the farm and I have three children who have been brought up in this area and have enjoyed the farm. It is a great facility which also attracts people from outside Gorgie and Dalry.

“Alongside Hearts, it has been a real boon in terms of putting the area on the map.

“A lot of the primary school children in the area have little contact with countryside animals and that fact that it’s on our doorstep offers a fantastic window on another world.”

Reverend Michael Mair of St David’s Broomhouse, who was also at Wednesday’s meeting, said representatives from four or five churches in the area had a “preliminary discussion” and were now considering what congregations could to do help.

Caroline Brockbank, who is running the Ceilidh Kids’ event, added: “Many of the children who come to our classes have enjoyed Gorgie City Farm.

“We thought the ceilidh would inspire families and help out a good cause at the same time. For many years Ceilidh Kids have done stuff in the Fringe and in the last two years we have also held sessions at Gorgie City Farm.”

Josiah Lockhart, general manager of the farm, thanked people for their donations and reiterated calls for them to dig even deeper to help the farm reach its £100,000 target. He revealed last week that the farm has entered into talks with “three major funders” which would also help to secure the farm’s long-term future.

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.