A well-loved community farm that cares for dozens of rare animals is under threat of closure unless it can urgently find an immediate cash injection and a regular source of income and support. Bill Quay Community Farm needs to raise £50,000 by the end of August to ensure its survival and to feed and care for its animals. Since Gateshead Council withdrew its support to the project, the Bill Quay Community Farm Association has survived on grants, but these are fast running out.
The farm, which next year celebrates its 30th anniversary, is open seven days a week as a free visitor attraction and is a treasured green space on the edge of Gateshead. It is a well-used hub for education, access to locally produced food and home to dozens of rare breed animals. As a Rare Breeds Survival Trust Approved Farm Park, all of the farm livestock is rare and indigenous. Bill Quay maintains several breeding groups, including award winning Tamworth pigs, Hebridean sheep and Bagot goats. However, if the farm closes, it isn’t only the animals that will lose a place in the heart of the community as Jenny Wood, Chair of the Association explains.
“We are at the centre of the community here in Bill Quay. Every day we have a wide variety of visitors who come to the farm and see it as an essential part of their lives. These include people with disabilities or those who have additional needs and their carers, elderly people who come to meet friends and at the other end of the spectrum; we have mothers with their babies and toddlers who meet in the cafe for coffee and a catch up. “Add to this, dog walkers, cyclists, school groups, young families and students from Houghall College in Durham who learn their farming skills with us and a potential closure would have a detrimental effect on a lot of people. “The Association is urging everyone to support Bill Quay Community Farm’s emergency appeal and help to ensure our very special animals continue to receive care and that the project continues for the good of the wider community. Everyone, staff and volunteers, have worked extremely hard to make the farm a place to be proud of and it is absolutely heart breaking to even consider the thought of closure.”
The farm has launched an appeal for regular direct debit donations that would help to pay for running costs along with several other funding initiatives. In view of the time constraints, the farm would also love to hear from local businesses that would like to help. Anyone who would like to help can donate or pledge regular payments by contacting 0191 441 9715 or going online via:
For more information on Cash Crisis, please visit this website www.billquayfarm.org.uk