Balsall Heath City Farm is set to close by the end of March, unless new money can be raised to support it.
Set up by a group of residents in 1980, with just a few chickens, the farm now includes sheep, goats, rabbits, ducks, geese and turkeys. The Farm costs some £55,000 a year to run, and its parent body, St Paul’s Community Development Trust, says it can no longer afford to keep it open.
The farm is enjoyed by local children and their families, providing close up access to animals in one of Birmingham’s most deprived neighbourhoods. Visitors who came as children now bring their own little ones down to see the 50 animals that live on the Farm. Others come as volunteers to help feed the animals and grow flowers and vegetables. Entrance to the farm has always been free, but staff also run educational visits for nurseries, schools and other groups.
St Paul’s Chief Executive, David Cusack, says “We have supported the farm financially over the years, but it has never covered its own running costs. During the last two years, we have worked very hard to raise new income, with some success, but, sadly, it was not enough to keep it open.”
At a special meeting on 1 December, St Paul’s Trustees reluctantly agreed to close the farm by the end of March 2019. Chair of Trustees, Gill Coffin, said “During this period, we will continue to work hard to secure new funding so that we can keep the farm open in some way. Any support from individuals and organisations will be most welcome.”
Unless funding can be found the closure will go ahead. This will be the end of a long and proud history of how the farm has helped people develop skills, make friends, gain confidence, and given children many hours of fun. It will be sorely missed by many individuals including staff, families and Trustees.
For more information please contact:
Chief Executive David Cusack
0121 464 4376
If you want to make a donation to save our farm, please visit our website www.stpaulstrust.org.uk
The Farm is located in Malvern Street, Balsall Heath, Birmingham B12 8NN