Crowdfunding campaign for Edinburgh's Gorgie City Farm raises more than £50,000

Public support for favourite Capital attraction soars past half way mark towards £100,000 target

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 6:00 am
Liquidators arrived on Friday morning without warning and closed the farm
Liquidators arrived on Friday morning without warning and closed the farm

THE crowdfunding campaign to save Edinburgh’s city farm has soared past the £50,000 mark towards its £100,000 target.

More than 2500 members of the public have given money to the GoFundMe page to save the farm - though it would have to be relaunched as a new venture. The page was started on Saturday and last night donations had topped £52,000.

Meanwhile it has emerged there have been “offers of interest” from other organisations about running the farm.

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The farm welcomed 200,000 visitors a year - including the Queen in July

Gorgie City Farm - which had over 100 animals, 200,000 visitors a year and offered a safe place for volunteers with additional learning needs - was closed without warning by liquidators on Friday morning. Some of the 23 staff only found out they had lost their jobs via social media.

Now a briefing sent to councillors has revealed the council, which owns the site and funded the farm to the tune of £109,000 a year was given only 24 hours notice of the closure.

It said: “The farm first made council officers aware of their situation in a telephone call on October 31 and on November 1 an insolvency practitioner was appointed.”

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Staff at Edinburgh's Gorgie City Farm had no warning of funding problem which le...

“The costs of continuing to employ staff to keep the farm trading/open was too great and so the farm is now closed to the public, however there is cover to ensure the livestock are cared for.”

It said the liquidator was confident all the animals would be rehomed. “There have been numerous offers to take the animals.”

And the briefing signalled a readiness by the liquidator to look at options for the future.

“The assets of the company are being secured to ensure the farm is in as strong a position as possible to move forward if it can.

“There have been some offers of interest in running the farm/using the property from a number of parties, however it is too early for the practitioner to assess the full merits of these approaches and it is intended that this would be done in partnership with the council as the landowner.”

Council leader Adam McVey said he was meeting the liquidator today and hoped to have talks with other parties soon.

“We’re still trying to establish all the facts of the situation.”

But he said it was encouraging that there were organisations expressing an interest. “Having these options means we are in a strong position to get through this, but it is early days.

“There is an enormous amount of community support which is hugely encouraging.

“We will be trying to find a way forward that gives us as a city something that reflects the specialness of what Gorgie Farm brought.

“The administration is throwing a lot at trying to get a positive resolution to this. We were as shocked as anyone else when we heard the news.”

Three years ago the Evening News spearheaded a successful £100,000 appeal to keep the farm open when soaring costs and funding problems threatened its future.

This time there was no public signal of financial problems and the closure has taken staff, public and politicians by surprise.

Green councillor Gavin Corbett said: “The information sent by council officers today helps to shed a little bit of light on the cashflow difficulties faced by the farm but still leaves unanswered why those difficulties were highlighted so suddenly.

“I can’t imagine that there wouldn’t have been alarm bells for months in advance.

“On the plus side it is clear that the option of keeping the farm as a going concern is very much still on the table.

“I’ve been inundated with suggestions over the last few days, as have others, and I am convinced that there are credible, serious offers of help which can be explored over the next few days.”