Bath City Farm: promoting mental wellbeing through animals and nature

by Issy Walker | Mar 27, 2023 | Stories

Bath City Farm: promoting mental wellbeing through animals and nature
  • Raised £33,905 from 228 supporters
  • +£3,000 Extra funding from Sovereign Thriving Communities Fund
  • To provide education, training and therapeutic activities to people in the local community

Bath City Farm is a charitable organisation, providing education, training and therapeutic activities to people in the local community, as well as a free-to-access visitor attraction for families and children.

Their aim is to help around 800 children, young people and adults each year with mental health issues or additional learning needs to thrive and be well. The animals play a vital role in the targeted therapeutic work with participants of the Farm’s health and wellbeing programmes. For many, the Farm is a place to recover from acute mental distress and rebuild a healthier lifestyle, connecting with nature and each other.

The Farm is also a free resource for many families on a low income to spend a day out with children, to experience and meet farm animals and access vital green space. Visitors can also enjoy the nature trails around the 37-acre site, ponds, and children’s play areas, all of which cost money to maintain. For example, upkeeping safe pathways and gardening the grounds and flower beds.  

In order to continue to offer their services and keep visitor entry free, Bath City Farm needed to raise £30,000. The money raised would pay for core costs such as staff to manage the farm site, rising energy costs, animal care costs such as bedding, food and vet bills and maintaining the site for the 42,000 people who visit the farm each year.  

Funding would also go towards:

  • Increasing the amount of food they grow for their cafe and community projects
  • Providing more free public events
  • Adding a farm shop and grow the number of farm made products
  • Maintaining the farm as a free-to-access site for local communities

To achieve this, they set up the Bath City Farm Crowdfunder!

To find out more about their journey, we spoke to Alison Howell, Communications and Development Lead at Bath City Farm; “We chose to crowdfund because we had a gap in our funding. This meant we needed money to care for our animals and our beautiful 37-acre site. With people facing high energy costs and the cost-of-living crises we hoped to raise our goal but knew our £30,000 target could be a challenge. However people’s generosity really overwhelmed us.”

The crowd rallied around their project, with one supporter commenting, “Love the farm. One of the best community assets in Bath and thoroughly deserving of all the support it can get.”

In a very moving comment, another said; “I am behind this Crowdfunder for Bath City Farm, because it gave my daughter a reason to keep going after being involved in a car crash. The Farm’s support groups are totally amazing and offer participants so much help and compassion. The other elements of the Farm, cafe, growing produce and flowers, the animals and more are so much part of the community in Bath. What a stellar place! Donate if you can, whatever you can.”

In the end, Bath City Farm reached their initial target and went on to raise £33,905 from 228 members of the community. This included £3,000 from the Sovereign Thriving Communities fund.

We asked Alison what impact the +Extra funding has had on their campaign. She told us; “Unlocking the extra funding really made a huge difference to the success of our campaign. We achieved our goal of raising £30,000! This money will help our core costs at Bath City Farm so caring for the animals, paying for food, shelter and vet bills and helping us with rising energy costs, paying to take care of our beautiful 37 acre site and paying for the staff who support this over the next 12 months.”

Alison went on to say; “Crowdfunding really brought our community together and rallied around a single cause, including our team. In these times of high energy costs and the cost-of-living crises we were heartwarmed by the response we received to the campaign and by people’s generosity. It was inspiring reading the comments that supporters to the crowdfunder made via the comments section.”

“We also hoped that the campaign might help us to raise our profile, but we were really blown away by the success of our press coverage. We were on BBC TV news, three times, and in a variety of newspapers and magazines. People really got behind the Crowdfunder campaign.”

After such a successful experience of crowdfunding, and receiving the +Extra funding from Sovereign Housing, we asked Alison and her team for their top crowdfunding tips:

“Make sure your story is compelling and describes who you are, what you do and why you need the money. If you can, give examples; e.g. our vet bills cost around £50 a week at Bath City Farm. Make a compelling film to help tell your story, and when things seem tough keep going! Tell everyone what you are doing and why, and how they can help. Make good use of the update feature on Crowdfunder to keep people informed about your campaign as it progresses.”

Feeling inspired? Find out if you could get up to £10,000 from the Sovereign Thriving Communities Fund!

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