Keep Bridge Farm Community Owned

by Natasha Martirosian in Bristol, , United Kingdom

Total raised £33,502

£102,000 target 16 days left
32% 673 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 10th June 2024 at 10:35pm

Community ownership of Bridge Farm: Connecting those in Bristol through growing food, education, celebration and sustainable development.

by Natasha Martirosian in Bristol, , United Kingdom

Spring has sprung, and Bridge Farm needs YOU to spring into action and protect its future.

As the seasons shift, we find ourselves at a critical moment for our beloved farm, a time that will shape its future. We are calling on our community and those who recognise the need for community ownership, for immediate and collective action, to ensure that the magic of Bridge Farm stays alive and accessible to all. 

The Bristol Community Land Trust (BCLT) has the opportunity to obtain £850,000 through the Community Ownership Fund (CoF), to purchase the farm and to renovate the barns. However, to do this, we need to raise £200,000 as match funding. The Ashley Vale Action Group will support with £100,000 with a match fund on the land sale. That leaves £100,000 still to find. Can you help??

View the Bridge Farm Update document here.

Walk around the old farmhouse and barns here.

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History and Context

A lovely group of pioneer lenders, financed Ashley Vale Action Group to save the beautiful farm from private development six years ago so that the land and buildings could be retained in community ownership.  The original plan was to obtain planning permission for some new homes, whereby the plot sales would fund loan repayments AND fix up the farmhouse and some of the barns. However, delays in the project resulting from many factors including, changing the new build masterplan to suit keeping more of the land as growing and green space, delays by the planning department, and other factors during the pandemic, have resulted in the new build not yet having planning permission. All of this is taking time that we don't have.  It's not surprising that the government has put the Bristol Planning Team under special measures, and given a route for new planning applications to go directly to the national planning inspectorate.

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Some of the original lenders quite rightly need their funds back, and with the ongoing delays, the Ashley Vale Action Group is now forced to sell the farm to honour their lenders.

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Solution

If the Bristol Community Land Trust (BCLT) is able to secure the funding (with your help), the farm can be saved, and kept in community ownership and community control, and a place for growing, teaching, learning, and a sanctuary of peace and celebration to so many in the heart of Bristol. 🔥🌻

The BLCT have just offered 10 days of direct support with the application through Shared Assets, which is amazing news, and they have informed us that we have a really great case as we have done so much with the community on the land and in the barns over the years. 

Timing is against us though, as the next deadline is the End of May (new extended submission deadline!)… and it is ambiguous whether there will be another round or not (election looming!). So, we are pooling our resources, to put the application and evidence together for the bid, with our fingers crossed, for May. 

However, we will immediately fail if we can't demonstrate a match funding

So, can you support us, and can you support the farm to remain in ownership by the community.

For every £1 you put in, it will enable us to generate £9.50. 

If you put in £100, that generates £950 for the project - IF we can reach the target!

Our total will require any mix donations and every little counts-  but the larger the sum, the fewer donations we will need. 

We recognise times are tight, but if you know anyone who has the capacity, AND if you are able to SHARE with others, the £100k has the potential to unlock the future of farmand secure the farm into long term community ownership.

Every bit helps, and the farm and all those who visit and spend time on the farm will benefit from your support into the future. 

Please note: This campaign is based on providing 50% of the match funding for a successful application to the Community Ownership Fund. We believe we have a strong case for support from the COF but this is not yet guaranteed. Thus we propose to retain all funds generated via this crowdfunding campaign in the crowdfund until we know the outcome. In the event that the application is unsuccessful we will issue a statement to all donors as to potential alternative ways their donations can be used to secure the future of the farm. Should any donors prefer to withdraw their donation at that point, we will issue refunds (less any fees deducted by the platform).

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Our Bridge Farm Vision  

Welcome, friends, to our shared vision at Bridge Farm. Our journey so far has seen us transform a piece of rough grassland and bramble into a blossoming hub of sustainable living, ecological learning and community connection. We've grown allotments, planted trees, nurtured animals and established a vibrant meeting space for workshops, events and shared meals that nourish both body and spirit.

Our ambitions, though, stretch much further. In addition to our existing accomplishments, which include building a hire venue, establishing a community canteen, setting up a community grower group and attracting a number of local micro-enterprises.  At our events, we welcome around 600 people at a time, and we have a growing social media presence (2000 followers on Instagram and Facebook each) that extends our influence beyond our physical location.1712050945_img_2292.jpg1712012133_elsie.jpeg1712049810_img_9811.jpg

We are encouraging more regular volunteers from within our distribution lists and provide avenues for our existing volunteers to take on leadership roles. In addition, we are working towards registering as a Community Interest Company (CIC) to manage the farm, if the future of the farm is secured through Community Land Trust (CLT) purchasing the land and buildings.  At the moment, we operate on a volunteer basis without any full-time paid roles, and we have limited time and energy to dedicate to fundraising efforts.

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Despite these challenges, our passion for our mission and the impact we can make in our community and beyond continues to drive us forward. We're embarking on an exciting new phase of strategic planning to ensure we not only address our immediate challenges, but also build a resilient, sustainable future for Bridge Farm.

An Introduction to Bridge Farm's Mission

Bridge Farm, set in the heart of Bristol, is a vibrant community-led initiative. Our land is a patchwork of aspirations and achievements, combining elements of sustainable farming, community building, education, and well-being enhancement. The Bridge Farm project consists of four primary components: the existing barns, the farmhouse, the proposed cohousing units, and the land itself.

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The land, encompassing 3.58 acres, is the canvas on which we paint our story. Initially, it was rough grassland and bramble but has since evolved into a diverse space becoming the home of a variety of growing and land based projects, including (but not limited to)

  • A tree nursery
  • Communal grower area
  • Perennial vegetable nursery
  • Edible forest garden
  • Aid Box Community Charity gardening group 
  • Bristol Tree Craft
  • Divina Botanica flower garden
  • Bee keeping
  • Pippins Steiner school
  • Access and use by the local primary school
  • SHIFT Bristol Practical Permaculture
  • Healing Weeds 

We envisage a future where the land serves as a sanctuary for enhancing well-being, nurturing connections, and creating living and growing spaces that are ecologically sensitive, sustainable, and affordable.                                    

The barns, some of which will be renovated into homes, with others serving as community buildings, are the heartbeat of Bridge Farm. They host workshops, training sessions, and communal activities that promote a sense of connection and belonging. Around these barns are smaller structures, including greenhouses, a pizza oven, and existing toilets, and we have plans for additional community buildings including accessible toilets and showers in the future.

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There are plans for a new-build cohousing element at the site's lower end, with an outline planning application submitted to the Bristol Planning team in March 2023. This development aims to accommodate twelve homes and a common house, with detailed planning to follow.

By developing Bridge Farm as a multipurpose horticultural space, we aim to reconnect people with their food production roots. This knowledge builds a bridge to healthier lifestyles and ethical consumer choices, vital in a world where many adults and children are increasingly disconnected from their food sources.

Bridge Farm Update document can be viewed here.

To see more about the Bristol CLT see here : https://www.bristolclt.co.uk/

To see more about the farm see here: https://bridgefarmbristol.co.uk/

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£500 or more

£500 Reward

£500 - ‘lifetime’ access to Bridge Farm equinox events and a tree planted in your honour PLUS your beautiful name on a plaque of supporters. And your choice of one of the bonus options.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

You've helped, and you are AMAZING. Feel into the beauty of supporting the farm into remaining in community ownership.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

2 family tickets or 8 tickets, to share with friends and family at any equinox event, or to spread out for yourself over the seasons.

£100 or more

£100 Reward

4 family tickets, or 20 tickets, to share with friends and family at any equinox event, or to spread out for yourself over the seasons. PLUS Your beautiful name on a plaque of supporters

£150 or more

£150 Reward

3 family tickets, or 15 tickets, to share with friends and family at any equinox event, or to spread out for yourself over the seasons. PLUS Your beautiful name on a plaque of supporters. And your choice of one of the bonus options.

£250 or more

£250 Reward

2 yrs of equinox event tickets (6-8 events) for you and your family, (or you and 3 friends per event) PLUS your beautiful name on a plaque of supporters. And your choice of one of the bonus options.

£1,000 or more

3 of 90 claimed

£1000 Reward

£1000 : ‘Lifetime’ access to Bridge Farm equinox events, as well as a tree planted in your honour, with you participating in the planting ceremony, and a name plaque (your name or a loved one) by the tree, as well as your name on the plaque of supporters. AND you can hire both barns/land area for a weekend party (usually £1000+)

£5,000 or more

1 of 25 claimed

£5000 Reward

The farm’s ETERNAL GRATITUDE. £5000 : ‘Lifetime’ access to Bridge Farm equinox events, as well as a tree planted in your honour, with you participating in the planting ceremony, and a name plaque (your name or a loved one) by the tree, as well as your name on the plaque of supporters. PLUS use of the farm site (barns and cafe) for a long weekend for your own private celebration.

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