Gorgie City Farm – update on insolvency
Gorgie City Farm first made council officers aware of their situation in a telephone call on 31 October and on 1 November an Insolvency Practitioner was appointed.
Since then Council Leader Adam McVey met with the Insolvency Practitioner on 5 November and with local elected members, MSPs, local community representatives and former staff earlier today.
In yesterday’s meeting, The Insolvency Practitioner outlined the process but could not yet specify details about the causes which led to Gorgie City Farm becoming insolvent and the subsequent action by the Board.
Council Leader Adam McVey, said: “We are working with the Insolvency Practitioner to make every effort to secure a future for the farm in Gorgie which has provided a valuable experience for adults and children across the city for many years. The Insolvency Practitioner must now be given time to work with interested parties and it is unlikely that we will find out more until at least the end of next week. A number of credible charities have made contact to express interest in taking over the farm, which is very encouraging at this stage. I’m also really pleased to see the positive response to the crowdfunding initiative which has been set up as it demonstrates just how much the public values the farm.”
• The organisation has been in receipt of a grant from Communities and Families (2016-19 Grant programme, extended to March 2020) with an annual value of £109,214 paid in quarterly instalments (the last payment will be due in early January 2020).
• The board at Gorgie City Farm made the decision to seek an insolvency practitioner because the cash in the bank was not sufficient to meet their ongoing costs.
• The costs of continuing to employ staff to keep the Farm trading/open was too great and so the Farm is now closed to the public, however there is cover to ensure the livestock are cared for.
• The Insolvency practitioner is confident that all the animals will be rehomed. There have been numerous offers to take the animals.
• The role of the practitioner will be to ensure the proper winding up of the company.
• The assets of the company are being secured to ensure the farm is in as strong a position as possible to move forward if it can.
• The organisation rents the land from the Council and the costs of the lease were agreed at Finance and Resources Committee on 23rd March 2017. The land is not for sale.
• There have been some offers of interest in running the farm/using the property from a number of parties, however it is too early for the practitioner to assess the full merits of these approaches and it is intended that this would be done in partnership with the Council as the landowner.
• A further role of the practitioner is to ascertain how the company got into this position.
• Council officers will continue to remain in contact with the Insolvency Practitioner and further updates will be provided later in the month.