THE campaign to save Gorgie City Farm has been given a boost thanks to fundraising efforts by volunteers who took part in a firewalk and a group of girls who staged a school-gate collection.
Spiralling costs and a major reduction in external funding prompted the farm – which has been running for 38 years – to launch an urgent appeal for £100,000 to stay open and continue its work for young and vulnerable people across the Capital. The appeal has now raised around £60,000 in just over a week.
Some 28 volunteers, staff, board members and their friends took part in the sponsored firewalk on Saturday night, raising around £6500. They risked their soles to cross an 8ft stretch of smouldering embers in their bare feet.
Jim Dendy, social inclusion manager at the farm, said: “People were joining in just for the fun. Apparently running is the worst thing you can do, so everyone walked very calmly across, just very sedately. Most people did it two or three times.
“It went really well. With the sponsorship we raised and with donations on the night we ended up with around £6500. It was a big success – and no lasting injuries.”
It was several hundred degrees so it’s no walk in the park, but some people said the worst bit was standing in the water afterwards because it was so cold.Jim Dendy
Mr Dendy did the firewalk three times. “It was several hundred degrees so it’s no walk in the park, but some people said the worst bit was standing in the water afterwards because it was so cold. Your feet are tingling for a day or so afterwards.”
Mr Dendy said there was strong support for saving the farm. “People keep coming in with donations. The community is showing it does not want the farm to shut.”
Meanwhile, seven-year-old Jessica McCleary and friends Zoey Beatson and Belle Whitney-Macdonald decided to mount their own fundraising drive.
Mum Andrea McCleary said: “I told the girls about it after seeing the Evening News Facebook post. They were devastated. We had been just the week before and they’d had a great time. They said they wanted to do some fundraising. We often go to the farm. They just love petting the animals and getting to feed them.”
First the girls did a collection around friends and neighbours and then they took up position with their collection box outside the gates at Stockbridge Primary School. “They stood outside from 8.15am for three mornings. They were chanting ‘Save Gorgie City Farm’ and getting money from parents and anyone else passing by.”
The girls managed to raise £126 and Ms McCleary took them to the farm to hand over the money. “They were delighted,” she said.