Heartfelt 'thank you' from former Gorgie City Farm staff as immediate future secured after Edinburgh Council boost

Staff from the collapsed Gorgie City Farm have said a heartfelt “thank you” to the people of Edinburgh after the immediate future of the attraction was secured.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 10:05 am
Updated Friday, 22nd November 2019, 10:20 am

An overwhelming response to a crowdfunding appeal set up by redundant workers – coupled with a cash injection from Edinburgh City Council – means there should be enough funds to secure the site and care for the animals until new operators can be brought in.

Councillors agreed to back the community bid to revive the much-loved city farm by committing £27,000 towards a funding campaign to secure its future.

The latest boost came just 24 hours after a mystery benefactor anonymously donated £20,000 to the Gorgie Farm fundraiser.

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Gail Vancker (left) and Hannah Ryan (top right), started the GoFundMe page to save the farm

That cash injection saw the total amount of money raised by donors reach £93,695 – less than £7,000 short of the £100,00 target.

Former staff members, led by Hannah Ryan, revealed their joy at the major step towards security a new future for the attraction on their Edinburgh Community Farm Facebook page.

The group said that more than 3,000 people had donated to the appeal, from Ireland to Australia and Ms Ryan posted: “To the people who have been made redundant during the hardest time of the year, including myself. Rest, be thankful for the people of Edinburgh have our backs.”

She added: “Speaking as a former staff member, it’s a bittersweet moment. It may be too late to save the organisation “Gorgie City Farm”, but, like someone wrote on our Facebook page, ‘we hope something else can rise from the ashes’.

“Without this support who knows if the site would of had a future. What I will stand by is that you made this happen. The wonderful people of Edinburgh.”

Gorgie City Farm, which employed 23 staff and attracted 200,000 visitors a year, went into liquidation on November 1 and some of the staff discovered they had lost their jobs on social media.

Ten parties have “expressed interest” in rescuing the farm – which has 50 livestock and 50 pets – from permanent closure.

The latest breakthrough came after councillors greed to hand over £27,303 following a motion tabled by Green Cllr Gavin Corbett to full council recognising the “cherished” farm has been a “landmark in the city for over 40 years”.

Council leader Cllr Adam McVey amended the motion, committing £27,303 the farm was due in January as part of its annual £109,214 grant funding to be handed over.

Campaigners welcomed boost, taking to Twitter to label it “fantastic news” and said it’s “great to see this progress form the council and supporters”.

Cllr McVey added: “This gives us the time, the space and the resources to help create that front-runner bid.

“What is going to be clear is that the operator of the future Gorgie City Farm will have broader shoulders and hopefully be able to take the farm forward with more certainty.”

SNP Cllr Cathy Fullerton, who represents the Gorgie-Sighthill ward, thanked the “army of volunteers” and welcomed the move to “ensure that the farm in one form or another will be resurrected”

Labour ward Cllr Donald Wilson said: “We don’t just want to create another volunteer organisation. We want to look at what made the farm so special and try to recreate that.”

Cllr Corbett added: The last three weeks have shown what an asset Gorgie Farm has been and will be.”

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