TRUSTEES at a community farm have made the ‘very difficult’ decision to close the venue due to the current financial climate.
Grimethorpe Community Farm, based on the grounds of Milefield Primary School - which operated as a foodbank as well as helping schoolchildren and people with disabilities connect with nature - will have its animals relocated.
Coun Jeff Ennis, who is also the chair of the farm’s steering group, told the Chronicle he was ‘very sad’ about the closure.
“All the tools from the farm will be given out to local residents - Grimethorpe is already a deprived area and it makes sense for the tools to have use elsewhere rather than being wasted,” he said.
“In the last year, plans have been looked at for the farm to move from its current location.
“After a lot of work and exploration, it became clear that moving the farm was going to need a substantial amount of funding.
“The animals will be located elsewhere within Barnsley - we have been looking at Wigfield Farm and Cannon Hall Farm but haven’t made any definitive decisions as of yet.
“We will be making sure all animals settle into their new homes with as little disruption as possible - they are our main priority.
“We will ensure that those who still want to volunteer or attend similar programmes are supported in the many incredible projects we have across the borough.
“It hasn’t been an easy decision for anyone involved, but we are realistic that the expense of this venture would outweigh its need at this time.
“We are proud of all the work put into this project over the years and the dedicated time and support everyone and businesses have given.
“We are thankful that the project has enriched people’s lives in the last six years, but we understand that now is the right time to close.”
Coun Caroline Makinson, cabinet spokesperson for public health and communities, added: “We’ve been sadly informed by the trustees of Grimethorpe farm that they’ve made the difficult decision to close the project.
“We are sad to hear this news but we understand that, after looking at different options to keep the farm running, it was not financially viable at this time.
“The trust has reassured us that all the animals will be rehoused across Barnsley.
“Our area teams will help where new volunteering opportunities are needed in the community and will offer support to the trust.
“We saw many years of great work and volunteering at the farm and we would like to thank the community for their involvement and support.”
Headteacher of Milefield Primary School, Karen Trickett, said: “The current financial pressures have had an affect on many aspects of our community.
“We are seeing more and more impact of this on our families and clearly this has also had an impact on the farm.”