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Greenslate Community Farm Treasurers Report – AGM - March 2018

Overview

A positive, yet challenging year. We have opened the cafe and expanded the shop. The “Straw Bale Cafe” is a real achievement for the farm, both to build it but also then to make it work as a community asset.

Our funding for the “Straw Bale Cafe” covered build expenses and a bit for Project Management and some support. There was no money to publicise, staff or stock it.

This project was never going to be easy and that has been the case. The board has been heavily involved with this all year. It’s not simple and we have learnt some hard lessons.

With support from all the board and staff we have looked at opportunities to cut our overheads and have brought in some more financial controls. The “Straw Bale Cafe” brings with it a new dimension for the farm.  Risks, yes but so many opportunities?

The farm has been running at a monthly loss.  I am pleased to report that the provisional figures for February /March put both the cafe and shop into a healthy profit. This is thanks to everyone’s hard work and the changes the board made.

We have learnt, and the original model for the Cafe and shop involving the care farm students has not worked as we conceived earlier.  This was a well thought through plan. But with every plan they don’t always work.

We are quite rightly committed into involving our care farm students in all we do.  Our students are here because they like the freedom of, and the opportunities of the farm.  I don’t blame them.

Hazel does a Stirling job for us as care farm manager and is always looking to give our students a good opportunity and a positive experience, as do all our support staff.  We have more varied opportunities to offer new students now but it takes time. Our students are a beacon of what we have achieved. Also bear in mind the achievements of the care farm and other efforts are not always something we can shout about. They are good never the less. Remember this.

Grant Funding

We are self sufficient and we are not reliant on any grant funding.  This said grant funds are always welcome to us. Three come to mind this year and require respect to all concerned.

Jewson

All credit to Hazel for setting us off on this one! Lots mucked in, Dan and Ian comes to mind in particular and we won the North West Group by popular vote.  A brilliant achievement and a mark of respect for the farm.

A great picture and a proud moment. Also a big thank you to Jewsons. I believe the bloke next to Dan is big on TV? Bless you George.

Memory Garden – Crowdfunding

The board is well aware times are hard for many. When Wigan Council suggested the idea of Crowdfunding We felt it was a good opportunity to work with them.

We had a few projects in mind but decided on the “Memory Garden Project”

`Crowdfunding is a new approach to us but I am pleased to report to you as newbie’s to his concept we achieved what we asked for.  This funds a further development of the farm and again fits in with our aims and objectives. Perhaps also knowledge gained for future projects?

City of Trees

A quieter one this but thanks to our positive involvement in Woodland and more than that, the farms dedication to  a sustainable future, City of Trees felt we were a good place for the” Lady Bindloss” legacy orchard. This is both an honour and give it a few years a treasure of lost apple and pear varieties.  Also it’s a brilliant opportunity to engage our community, young and old.

For the future

We continue to employ Neil part time as a grower but as ever on the farm. Not only is he setting us up for vegetables to sell, Neil has used his knowledge to massively improve the farms media presence, this is key to our future development.

Rhiannon continues to work tirelessly looking after our animals but if that is not enough, working to develop our activities for children of all ages.  These have massive respect and reinforce our aims. They also make us money in a nice way.

Kath, Nadya, Margaret and Roger have worked tirelessly in the shop and cafe to make it work but more, they produce good food and make the cafe a place to be, relax and a pleasure to visit.

The farm has invested in a water well which fits in with the farms ethos and helps our growing, it has also made a good deal with the allotment society to share this resource with their members.

Key Financial Points

We will not be paying a dividend this year.

Current Account £28,434.25

Savings Account £15,000.00

We have no major debtors

We have a few creditors which are in hand.

Conclusion

The farm is a different reality to this time last year. The new build shop and cafe, the “Straw Bale Cafe” will continue to be our focus. They will take time to establish, effort and resources.  

It has been challenging and always was going to be. We are now moving into a profit situation which is hard earned and welcome.

To continue this positive progress we are looking at ways of opening our shop and cafe for longer. We do not have the cash to open longer with paid staff at present.  Frustrating! but reality. We as a board are keen to recruit more volunteers.

We have so many opportunities available or yet to be thought of? Together we all work to make our farm a success.

The future of the farm, I believe is a meld between a variety of income streams.

Volunteers and supporters will always be central to the farm on every level.

For deeper financial information please feel free to email me at the farm.

Yours Cooperatively

Mark

Mark Tebbutt

Company Treasurer

Greenslate Farm Community Ltd

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