Charity secures site of former Gorgie City Farm

Happy pig

LOVE Learning has been announced as the successful bidder for the community farm, which closed abruptly in November

31st January 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has succeeded in its attempts to take on the former Gorgie City Farm.

LOVE Learning has been announced as the new operator for the community farm in Edinburgh.

Gorgie City Farm fell into liquidation in November - leaving staff, volunteers and supporters in shock.

A host of charities and other enterprises considered bids for the farm after the charity’s demise, with £100,000 being raised by a crowdfunding drive.

Lynn Bell, chief executive of LOVE Learning, said: “We are incredibly excited to be taking on such a treasured resource as Gorgie City Farm. At LOVE Learning we seek to improve the education and life chances of vulnerable children, young people and adults, as well as their families.

“Not only will the farm remain open seven days a week and remain free, but we will provide a range of exciting education, environmental and social care programmes supporting vulnerable children and adults.

“This will include learning programmes within a newly-established skills academy, social prescribing, animal therapy and employability projects.

“In addition, our educational centre will engage with local communities on environmental programmes around farming and food production and our intention is to have a food bank and social enterprise café. It will be a real community hub.

“We would like to commend the massive community support and fully recognise the love there clearly is for Gorgie City Farm. We cannot wait to get in and to work with the council and other key stakeholders to get it up and running.”

Liquidator Shona Campbell of MHA Henderson Loggie led the search for a new operator for the site on behalf of City of Edinburgh Council.

“I am pleased to have secured such a positive outcome for Gorgie City Farm,” she said. “As well as financial security we were looking for an operator with the vision and experience to breathe new life into the site and uphold the values treasured by the community. As liquidator I have been responsible for the continuing welfare of the animals on site throughout the search period and I am very grateful to the retained staff for all their support. I wish Love Learning every success for the future.”

Love Learning aims to create mainstream services that incorporate equality, justice, kindness, love and compassion. The charity was originally based in Airdrie, helping individuals in North Lanarkshire, but expanded its operations across the country in 2017.

Council leader Adam McVey said: “I’m delighted that there has been such a successful outcome for the future of this much-loved community asset. LOVE Learning’s proposal meets the community’s aspirations for what continues on the site – free for families to visit, open seven days a week and supporting and providing opportunities for vulnerable young people and adults. It buys into the values of volunteering, education, farming, supporting everyone in our communities as well as providing a sustainable and financially secure future for the site.

“When the farm closed in November, I know many people worried this would be the end of such a unique venue. However, I’ve been hugely grateful for the outpouring of support and for everyone who has rallied round to get the farm back for our city.

“I would like to put on record my thanks for all the hard work Shona and her team have put in over the past few months to reaching this great outcome. We’re really looking forward to working with Love Learning in providing a fantastic facility for everyone to enjoy.”