Vauxhall City Farm is halfway to its fundraising goal to keep the farm going during the pandemic, but the second lockdown has slowed the appeal down.
The farm relies on donations, and without visitors its income dropped by 80%, limiting its ability to provide the riding lessons, after-school programmes and work experience it usually does.
Vauxhall City Farm Chief Executive Monica Tyler is hoping to kick on with the appeal before the end of the year.
Tyler said: “We do need to reach that final target to ensure that we can operate and be around next year.
“We have a small staff team anyway but we’ve lost staff over the period of this pandemic due to the lack of funds and we’ve had to take the unfortunate decision to make people redundant.
“We also have a very wonderful range of volunteers who are local people and we utilise our current staff and volunteers to look after our one hundred animals.”
After the first lockdown the farm was able to re-open as part of the ‘Lambeth and Southwark Summer of Food & Fun’.
The re-opening this summer on the 28th July appeared to reinvigorate the community and showed how important the farm was.
It offered free school holiday activities and fee hot meals while also opening a community garden which 15 volunteers manage.
Lots of fundraising has already happened and the farm’s staff were shocked by the response of locals.
Tyler said: “The fundraising activities that our supporters and local people have participated in and have done off their own initiative has been quite amazing to say the least.
“We had one gentleman local to us in Kennington who did a step-a-thon that generated seven and a half thousand pounds towards the emergency appeal.
“We’ve had people do things like alpaca walks with our alpacas as well.”
Simon Garner is the gentleman in question, the farm has an A-Z of fundraising ideas on its website to help supporters.
The farm has always been involved in the local community and sought to go beyond just the visitor aspects of the farm.
Tyler said: “We’re in a month of lockdown and its challenging for us.
“We had started with our after-school clubs, we saw that as a way to start helping young people to catch up on their studies.
“It was really popular, on the farm we combined it not only with maths and English but also animal husbandry and horticulture.
“Having a part of their Wednesday session interacting with animals and all that the farm has to offer in terms of nature and biodiversity was successful.
“There is a lot of community effort it is amazing. Since we reopened the farm we’ve had kids all the way down Tyres street waiting to come into the farm and so pleased for us to be back we’ve been inundated with visitors to the farm.”
In the meantime, the farm launched some online video services in place of the usual educational activities through VCF TV.
Tyler said: “It was started during the lockdown and its one we intend to build on.
“It’s basically an interactive website for our programmes that we run at the farm like ‘getting started with animals’ showing different ways in which we look after the various animals it’s an educational tool for our young people and children.”
The Vauxhall City farm fundraising appeal can be found at https://uk.gofundme.com/f/savevauxhallcityfarm