Ouseburn Farm in Newcastle upon Tyne has received a huge financial boost towards securing its future.
After hearing that the farm may no longer be able to keep its doors open, creative marketing and communications agency Drummond Central has stepped in and agreed to support the farm both financially and in kind.
The future of the popular inner-city farm, which is located in the Lower Ouseburn Valley, Byker, was in doubt after its major contributor of eight years, Tyne Housing Association announced it was unable to continue to fund the farms £100,000 per year deficit post April 2017 due to a significant restructure of its business.
The news is encouraging for the farm, its staff and the 50,000 visitors it attracts year-on-year. Drummond Central has not only agreed to part-fund some of the farms deficit over the next three years, it will also provide added value in terms of marketing advice and specialist skills that the company has successfully delivered to its clients worldwide since it was established in 2004.
Andrea Haynes, Farm Manager, said: “It’s fantastic news not only for the farm, staff and visitors but for the city as a whole. The farm is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and has been the fabric for this part of Newcastle for decades. We are very grateful to Drummond Central, particularly in these current economic times. They have some excellent ideas and we’re really looking forward to working with them to improve the farm over the next three years.”
Beth Hazon, Managing Director of Drummond Central, said: “Our philosophy is about ‘taking care of business’ and working with companies to help raise their profile. Supporting Ouseburn Farm is our way of ‘taking care of our community’, which local people will continue to enjoy for many years to come. We have an extremely creative and talented team here and we are looking forward to working with the farm and the people who work there – it’s a journey we look forward to going on together.”
Ian Johnson, Chief Executive of Tyne Housing Association, said: “We are very grateful to Drummond Central for their contribution and look forward to seeing how the farm evolves over the next few years – Drummond Central have some really good ideas and these are very exciting times. We are still hoping to secure match-funding which will cover 100% of the farms deficit and discussions are currently on-going. We (Tyne Housing Association) are still committed to funding the farm’s deficit until April 2017.
“As a charity, the farm will continue to rely on personal and corporate donations, bookings for workshops, school visits and children’s parties.”
Cabinet Member for Policy and Communication, Cllr Stephen Powers, who is also a local Ouseburn councillor, said: “I’m delighted that the Housing Association has managed to find funding that will help keep the farm going over the next three years which gives more time to secure its long term future.
“It’s a great visitor attraction which is part of the diverse offer of the Ouseburn Valley.
“Obviously, there is still some way to go as this funding needs to be matched, but the council remains committed with partners to giving them advice and support.”
The farm, which is free to enter and open 363 days a year (closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day), is a registered charity and includes an array of animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, goats, ducks and other livestock. It also contains gardens, an orchard, coffee shop and educational classrooms that accommodate school children and vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals and communities providing them with the skills to develop. The Ouseburn Farm shop on Heaton Park Road in Byker also sells upcycled furniture and homemade cakes, pastries and preserves that have been produced at the farm.
The farm is run by six full-time staff, two part-time staff and up to 20 volunteers. During term-time, the farm provides heritage, farm-based and environmental education for over 4,000 school children and students. The workshops help agricultural, horticultural and environmental skills of vulnerable adults, volunteers and members of the public through the livestock, growing and environmental projects based at the farm.