The liquidator of Gorgie City Farm, Shona Campbell has issued an update to councillors which has some positive news in it – but she warns that it will take time to resolve the situation.
The update reads : “A skeleton staff remains on site to care for the animals at Gorgie City Farm and ensure their wellbeing.
“We are supporting employees in making their claims for redundancy and other entitlements from the government and have also ensured they have received additional support from Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE).
“Ten interested parties, both charitable and commercial organisations, have expressed interest in taking over the running of the farm. Some have followed up with site visits and requests for the further information necessary to undertake due diligence.
“This is positive news, however councillors should be aware it could take many weeks before they are able to submit proposals and secure the funding that is required to take over the running of the farm. I have requested that interested parties provide indicative offers next week together with realistic timescales to complete, from which we may in a position to draw up a short list.
“As liquidator, I am willing to continue running the site to secure a sustainable future for the farm, however, there are costs that must be met including insurance, staff costs, animal feed, vet bills and utilities. There are currently not funds available to meet these costs.
“We are exploring ways of covering the ongoing costs for the period of time it will take for the interested parties to perform proper and considered due diligence and to secure the required funding to ensure the financial stability and future sustainability of the farm.”
Council Leader Adam McVey said: “It’s really encouraging news that there has been such an interest in taking over the running of the farm. Ten organisations coming forward, and the positive response to the crowdfunding initiative, is a clear signal of just how much people across the City value the farm.
“I am pleased to see that the liquidator Shona Campbell is supporting employees in their claims for redundancy and other entitlements and also making sure the animals continue to be cared for. We will continue to work closely with Shona and do everything we can to try and secure a sustainable future for the farm.”
Green councillor Gavin Corbett said : “It’s very positive that there is so much interest in helping to restart Gorgie Farm Mark 2, even if the flip-side is that it will take longer to identify the new arrangements. So during that in-between time I really want to make sure that the insolvency practitioner is taking on board the views of former staff and volunteers about what worked well and not so well about the farm.
“I also think there needs to be a shared view about what a reborn farm project looks like; for example that it remains a farm with growing and animals; that it is open to the public and that education and opportunities for people from all sorts of backgrounds is built in.”