Ouseburn Farm in the Lower Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne has taken another major step in its aim to become financially self-sustaining by amalgamating a carpentry workshop and two furniture shops into its business.
The move is seen as a positive step forward for the farm who is hoping to become self-sufficient and continue to keep its doors open to its 50,000 visitors per year.
To celebrate the occasion, former Emmerdale and Wallsend-born actress Charlie Hardwick officially launched the new Ouseburn Farm shop on Heaton Park Road in Byker this afternoon (Wednesday, June 29). The shop will sell upcycled furniture which has been restored and recycled at the workshop on Wilfred Street but will also sell homemade cakes, pastries and preserves that have been produced at the farm.
Following last week’s announcement that funding will be withdrawn post April 2017, a rescue package is currently being sought to secure the farm’s future. As part of a major restructure of their business, the Board of Tyne Housing Association (THA), which leases the farm from the City Council, has agreed to transfer the carpentry workshop and two shops from its other subsidiary, Under the Bridge, to help generate much needed funds.
Second-hand furniture donated to the charity is recycled in the workshop and then sold on for a small profit which will contribute towards the £100,000 deficit the farm needs to raise per year to enable it to become self-sufficient. The other Ouseburn Farm shop on Heaton Road will sell pre-loved furniture that has been upcycled and reduces waste going to landfill.
The farm, which is located less than one mile from the City centre, also generates income from its newly refurbished coffee shop and educational classrooms and workshops teaching school children, students, vulnerable adults, volunteers and members of the public in agricultural, horticultural and environmental projects.
The workshop provides occupational therapy to vulnerable adults teaching them essential skills and provides placements for the homeless and adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems.
Andrea Haynes, Ouseburn Farm Manager, said: “The long-term aim of the farm is to reduce our dependency on funding by creating a sustainable business model. The main attraction of the farm for children and families is seeing the animals, visiting the gardens, orchard and coffee shop but by incorporating the workshop and furniture shops, it helps to educate people with learning disabilities to gain valuable experience and qualifications whilst at the same time providing the farm with a commercial stream.
“This is a very exciting and positive move for Ouseburn Farm and the start of a new era. I hope local people will support the opening of the new Ouseburn Farm shop and I would like to thank Charlie for her continued support in helping us to achieve our vision.”
It was nearly seven years to the day when Charlie last visited Ouseburn Farm to officially open the barn, which houses animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, goats and ducks. She said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we have an exciting new shop in our community. I’ve been longing to have a local produce shop nearby and can’t wait to sample the fare. I hope everyone comes to support us and help secure the future of our beloved farm. Good luck and come on in.”
Ouseburn Farm was established in 1973 and is run by six full-time staff, two part-time staff and up to 20 volunteers.