Battle to restore community farm continues

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Former staff and volunteers of Gorgie City Farm are founding a not-for-profit group to ensure funds donated by the public are used appropriately

12th November 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The battle to save Gorgie City Farm is continuing - with tens of thousands of pounds donated by members of the public.

Former staff and volunteers of the charity set up a crowdfunding page following the shock closure of the Edinburgh institution earlier this month.

Since then, almost £70,000 has been raised and the group has now taken steps to ensure the money will be used appropriately.

Edinburgh Community Farm will be created as a not-for-profit organisation to ensure the funds either go towards restoring a community farm at Gorgie, or are given to two other charities.

If the rescue bid is unsuccessful, the money raised will be donated to the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home and the Scottish Association for Mental Health instead.

A statement from the group said: “Through all the support we've received, we've been able to make significant progress over the last week.

“We want to start by saying thank you again to everyone who has helped us on this rocky journey to a better and more sustainable future for the site of "Gorgie City Farm".

“We, the former staff of GCF, are committed to raising funds to enable a community farm to continue in Edinburgh. Working in partnership with Edinburgh City Council, elected officials and other interested parties we are formally constituting a not-for-profit organisation called “Edinburgh Community Farm”.

“All monies raised through this fundraising page will be held in trust by EVOC – Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council – until the new organisation is formed, then monies will be transferred to it. If this money cannot be used to help secure a similar future to that of GCF, the money will be donated between Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home and Scottish Association for Mental Health. Thank you again for all of your support.”

After meeting with liquidators, the group was informed that any replacement for Gorgie City Farm would need to be formed as a new entity, with a different name.

The statement continued: “To be clear "Edinburgh Community Farm" was a group name created by former staff who were informed by the liquidation company on Saturday 2 November that they could no longer legally refer to any future project as "Gorgie City Farm".

“This not-for-profit group will only be formed to ensure the safe guardianship of the money raised for a future farm project.

“The former staff are doing this work on a volunteer basis with no expectation of re-employment and purely to achieve some lasting benefit from what has taken place.”

The City of Edinburgh Council has pledged to do everything possible to ensure a community farm is retained in the area.

Council leader Adam McVey said last week: “We are working with the Insolvency Practitioner to make every effort to secure a future for the farm in Gorgie which has provided a valuable experience for adults and children across the city for many years.

“The Insolvency Practitioner must now be given time to work with interested parties and it is unlikely that we will find out more until at least the end of next week. A number of credible charities have made contact to express interest in taking over the farm, which is very encouraging at this stage. I’m also really pleased to see the positive response to the crowdfunding initiative which has been set up as it demonstrates just how much the public values the farm.”

Liquidator MHA Henderson Loggie is caring for all animals that lived at the farm, and it said it is confident that homes can be found for all of them.

The charity promoted environmental sustainability, community development and social inclusion.

It has welcomed around 200,000 visitors a year since it was saved from closure in 2016 after a successful crowdfunding appeal raised in excess of £100,000.