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Freightliners Farm launches appeal amid closure fears

Much-loved Freightliners, which gives Londoners a taste of rural life, launches fundraising campaign

23 March, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Liz McAllister, the chief executive of Freightliners city farm

ISLINGTON’S only city farm is “walking on a tight line” when it comes to its finances and has launched a campaign to raise thousands of pounds to ensure its survival.

Freightliners Farm, in Paradise Park, offers a welcome slice of the countryside to residents living in a borough with the least amount of green space per head in London.

Liz McAllister, the farm’s chief executive, has worked at the two-and-a-half acre site for more than 15 years after joining when she just 23 years old.

She said: “It’s not panic stations yet but there’s always a possibility we will close if we can’t get the funding. We currently have an urgent funding gap which is affecting our cashflow.”

Ms McAllister said she needs to raise £30,000 by the end of the year but has already seen donations coming in from local residents after they launched a funding appeal last week.

“I have a feeling that many voluntary organisations across Britain are currently finding difficulty getting funding,” she added.

The farm was praised by Town Hall leader Councillor Richard Watts yesterday (Thursday).

The popular city farm needs to raise £30,000 by the end of the year

He said: “Freightliners Farm is a fabulous community space at the heart of the Islington community, one that the council is proud to support.”

Despite a slash in its own funding from central government, the Town Hall has provided the farm with £40,000 this year.

But this figure is still £20,000 less compared to seven years ago.

The farm boasts 60 chickens and six goats, as well as 12 sheep, two cows, pigs, and two guinea pigs. They have an outdoor gardening space which Ms McAllister believes is essential in connecting the borough’s children with nature.

“We had a schoolchild recently who said, ‘Urgh, I didn’t know carrots came from the ground!’ We are so detached, as a society, from being hands-on, but it’s part of our make-up to be outdoors and enjoy the outdoors. We offer this,” said Ms McAllister.

She added: “For a lot of kids this farm is a huge area of green space, they love it. We also offer stability because we’ve been here for so long and support our young visitors.”

Freightliners also employs five full-time staff who not only look after the animals but organise educational programmes based at the farm for local children to enjoy.

The farm had previously employed 20 members of staff before the recession.

Ms McAllister said: “There are ways of ensuring the farm keeps running, but losing another employee would mean we won’t be able to maintain our services – once you start losing staff you can’t potentially run any more.”

The much-loved farm attracts 40,000 visitors each year.

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