In July 2023, Stonebridge City Farm, an urban educational farm based in the city centre of Nottingham, was awarded a £5,000 donation from Southwell and District Agricultural Society (SDAS) for recognition of its outstanding selfless hard work and dedication towards educating children about British farming and food production. Being a charity themselves, SDAS, established in 1855, felt sympathetic to the financial challenges Stonebridge City Farm face on a daily basis, after seeing how they rely solely on the support and donations of the local community and its visitors in order to operate 7 days a week.
The agricultural society began internal discussions in 2022 considering how they could offer support to fellow local charities, particularly organisations who make a difference in the farming industry whilst running off the backs of volunteers and relying on kind donations. Graham Clarke, an ex Chief Steward and member to the society for more than 30 years, who founded Ferry Farm Park at Hoveringham knew only too well some of the challenges of running an education centre, most of which were often outweighed by the heartfelt reward earned from educating younger children and families how, why and where their food is produced; as well as sharing the importance of supporting British farming and the agricultural industry. Very sadly Mr Clarke passed away in August 2022 but with the continued support of his family, particularly his wife Johanna Clarke, who continued talks with the society trustees to create the Southwell & District Agricultural Society Graham Clarke Award in his memory.
On Monday 24th July 2023, a selection of trustees and members of the SDAS visited Stonebridge City Farm to present their team of volunteers with their donation cheque and see for themselves the hard work which goes on at the urban farm with the opportunity to talk through some of the urban attraction’s proposed ideas of where they’d like to use the £5,000 donation.
Stonebridge City Farm, established in 1978, would like to use the £5,000 to assist them with providing further training, education and support for their community of over 150 local volunteers who work on the farm, many of whom have a mental health challenge or a learning disability. They also hope to build a safe space for cattle handling with specialist calving equipment to both enhance the welfare of their livestock animals and the safety of their volunteers. To develop the experience for younger visitors, the city farm is also hoping to use some of the money to build their own Alice in Wonderland themed rabbit paddock and build more appropriate housing for their 18 year old tortoise, Kevin.
The three acre site, despite being set on Nottingham City Council owned land, receives no financial support from the local council, instead the charity relies solely on gate donations, grants and funding bids to meet its half a million pound operational costs per annum.
Whilst speaking to Marie - Head of the Animal Barn, some of our farmer trustees made suggestions and offered advice, gained from their wealth of experience in commercial agriculture, about how the city-based farm could make improvements to their site without huge financial implications. Some contacts were even exchanged for future advice and other possible avenues of support to make their visitor experience event greater.
The city farm gratefully welcomes any donations of hay, straw or any unwanted farm equipment. Any local farmers willing to help should get in touch with Marie at Stonebridge.
The attraction is open to the public all year round and showcases a vibrant Green Flag Awarded horticultural and sensory garden which creates opportunity for therapy learning and sparks gardening interest amongst their team of volunteers. Stonebridge works closely with local colleges Brackenhurst and Notts College who have a selection of students willing to volunteer their learned skills in animal care and horticulture to the city farm. They also accept public volunteers for those who want to get involved. Their volunteer waiting list may be lengthy, but they will never turn down any generous support offered by local people.
Stonebridge do not charge an entrance fee to its visitors in order to remain accessible to everyone, although they do encourage suggested donations of £1 per child or £2 per adult to help run their farm attraction.
Donations are encouraged either by cash or online donations are accepted as advertised around the farm through scanable QR codes.
They have a wide range of animals for visitors to stroke and feed, their gardens are definitely worth a visit too where visitors will see a selection of home grown seasonal plants, produce and herbs; some of which you can purchase from their shop to help put money back in to the organisation. With a great play area for smaller children to enjoy and a cafe serving drinks and snacks, the urban farm really is the perfect destination for an educational and family friendly day out where visitors can enjoy a ‘small slice of the countryside in the heart of the city’.
Stonebridge City Farm, Stonebridge Road, Nottingham, NG3 2FR
Open 10am – 4.15pm everyday