Yesterday we caught up with Deborah, a voluntary Trustee who does amazing work as our Treasurer.
“Bath may seem like a prosperous city but for many people living here the reality is different. Bath is a city full of inequalities with communities living in deep deprivation. The Farm exist to be a vital part of those communities, anyone can visit us any time and most of our services are free. That’s really important to us.
Everything we do costs money: paying our staff; feeding and caring for the animals; preserving the site; maintaining the buildings and running programmes. We have to raise every single penny ourselves – approximately £250,000 a year just to stand still. With the rising price of goods (e.g. animal feed; materials; utilities) this is likely to increase.
Staff and trustees work hard to secure funding. This means writing complex applications to charitable funds. Grants from charitable funds are, quite rightly, restricted for use for specific purposes, and for a fixed time. For example, for several years we’ve had money from Big Lottery for our volunteering programme for adults with multiple or complex needs. It runs out later this year so we need to find a lot of money to replace it so we can carry on running those programmes.
As a charity that’s been going for over 20 years, we’re use to this. What has changed more recently is the increasing level of poverty as wages and benefits stagnate while prices rise and public services and public funds diminish. Our services have never been more important, but with increased demand for grants from charitable funds, competition is intense.
We’ve seen this coming, and we’re working hard to raise a larger proportion of the money we need ourselves so we’re less dependent on grants. One of the ways we plan to do this is by building a proper café – I expect you’ve read about our ambitious building plan. But it’s going to be a while before this is up, running and able to make a profit.
This is where you can help us.
We will catch up with Deborah for Part 2 of Money Matters in a couple of weeks.