St Werburghs City Farm launches crowdfunder to keep ‘vital’ services this winter

The farm has been a popular community hub for more than 40 years

St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £30,000 to support community activities this winter.

The farm has been an integral part of St Werburghs for the past 40 years, strengthening connections between land, animals and local people.

Many of the farm’s engagement activities are for adults with mental health problems, learning difficulties and disadvantaged children and young people.

But like many businesses, the cost of living crisis and rising energy costs have been a challenge for St Werburghs City Farm and they are now asking people to donate to help with running costs throughout the winter.

The funds raised will go towards sessions helping people to combat social isolation, increase confidence and support wellbeing.

Money will also be spent to support farming placements for adults with learning disabilities to spend time caring for the animals and growing vegetables in the farm’s community garden.

It will also go towards the after-school youth club, Forrest School, City Farmers Club and half-term camps for disadvantaged children and young people to explore, play, make friends and learn together.

St Werburghs City Farm has been a part of the community for more than 40 years

Farm director Jess Clynewood says: “The crowdfunder is aimed at supporting our community services over the winter.

“Before the pandemic we raised about 50% of our income from trading activities like green weddings, room hire, placements and product sales but that hasn’t really picked up to its pre-pandemic levels.

“This, combined with the sharp rise in the cost of living and our increased overheads, means the winter is looking a bit of a pinch point for us.”

Jess says the farm has long-term fundraising strategies kicking in next spring, but it needs to raise money to get through the winter.

“We’re really starting to see the impact of the cost of living crisis that everyone’s feeling - people have got less money and there’s less to go around.

“Our energy bill has more than doubled, all of our materials have gone up and we try pay our staff in line with the cost of living but that’s proving impossible at the moment.”

The farm provides vital services for people in St Werburghs

Jess says they don’t want to be in a position where they have to cut any of their services because they are a lifeline for lots of people who use them.

“I’m feeling quite positive about the crowdfunder at the moment and every donation is being matched by the National Emergencies Trust so even the small donations are making a big difference.

“When we reach 25% funded from 100 different individuals, that will also trigger a larger pledge from Power to Change, which supports community businesses.”

Jess says the farm has become a valuable community hub that brings together people from different walks of life.

“It’s a really beautiful place, it feels like an oasis in the middle of the city and feels like you’re in the countryside despite being in the heart of Bristol.

“It’s a place for lots of different communities to share the same space which is really important for everybody to feel welcome.”

You can support the crowdfunding campaign here: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/swcityfarm