Gorse Hill City Farm in urgent fundraising push to survive winter

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Sarah Crookall with a newborn lamb

By Alexander Hodgkins-Jones

Gorse Hill City Farm is facing a “real possibility of closure” unless a further £35,000 is raised in the coming months.

Council cuts to the Leicester charity farm have prompted a fundraising drive, but only £15,000 of the £50,000 needed to get through the lean winter period has been raised so far.

The Save Our Farm fundraising campaign was launched last October.

The farm manager, Sarah Crookall, said: “The cuts have come at a time when we have lower footfall and people have less money.

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This lamb was born last week (January 25)

“We are really pushing to get some big funding now with the hope that when the better weather comes we can then raise more money and get more people through the door.

“There’s a real possibility of closure if we don’t raise the money.”

The farm has tested a variety of strategies to bring in new income to the farm, in a process Sarah describes very much as trial and error.

Last month the family of an ex-volunteer organised a charity gig and on Saturday, February 15, the farm will be hosting a race night.

Sarah praised the fantastic response from the local community and local businesses but admitted bigger funding is now needed.

“We can’t thank people enough for what they’ve done, but now it’s the last big push to get us through February and March.”

The closure of the farm would mean the loss of a historic site in Leicester, which has been a part of the local landscape for 35 years.

Sarah also fears for the animals.

“We would hopefully be able to rehome every animal here, but I worry about the old faithfuls, the animals who are older and have been here for years.”

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The animals may have to be rehomed

The emergency has been caused by Leicester City Council cutting funding for the farm in half – from £60,000 to £30,000. By next year the funding will be zero.

The farm is home to several rare breeds of animal, including Manx Loughton Sheep.

Not everyone can donate a lot, but something as simple as a brush, a vital tool which the farm burns through thanks to its dozens of volunteers, costs as little as a cup of coffee.

“What sets Gorse Hill Farm apart is the historic value. It’s been in a lot of families’ hearts for a lot of years, which you don’t always get with other sites.

“We have volunteers from when we first started whose children now volunteer with us. We’re nearly on the next generation now.”

If you wish to donate to the Save Our Farm campaign visit www.gorsehillcityfarm.org.uk

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