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Ten potential buyers for under-threat Gorgie City Farm

Fresh hope raised for the future of a popular visitor attraction in Edinburgh.

Interest has been shown in Gorgie City Farm.
Interest has been shown in Gorgie City Farm. The Central Scotland Green Network

Ten potential buyers have shown an interest in buying an under-threat Edinburgh farm, liquidators have said.

Popular visitor attraction Gorgie City Farm is in the process of being wound up, despite staff launching a massive fundraising drive.

The liquidator MHA Henderson Loggie has now revealed ten charitable and commercial organisations are interested in taking over.

Shona Campbell, MHA's director of business recovery and insolvency, said some had undertaken site visits and requested further information.

However, she pointed out that it could be weeks before firm proposals are put forward and warned there was not enough money available to keep the farm running in the meantime.

She said: "Ten interested parties, both charitable and commercial organisations, have expressed interest in taking over the running of the farm. Some have followed up with site visits and requests for the further information necessary to undertake due diligence.

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1442061-city-farm-where-queen-met-cheeky-duck-is-to-close/ | default

"This is positive news, however councillors should be aware it could take many weeks before they are able to submit proposals and secure the funding that is required to take over the running of the farm.

"I have requested that interested parties provide indicative offers next week together with realistic timescales to complete, from which we may in a position to draw up a short list.

"As liquidator, I am willing to continue running the site to secure a sustainable future for the farm, however, there are costs that must be met including insurance, staff costs, animal feed, vet bills and utilities. There are currently not funds available to meet these costs.

"We are exploring ways of covering the ongoing costs for the period of time it will take for the interested parties to perform proper and considered due diligence and to secure the required funding to ensure the financial stability and future sustainability of the farm."

A total of 23 workers face losing their jobs, with a skeleton staff currently remaining on site to care for the animals.

There are more than 100 animals at the farm, including sheep, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and a number of smaller creatures, which will be rehomed under the liquidation plans.

Edinburgh council leader Adam McVey said: "It's really encouraging news that there has been such an interest in taking over the running of the farm. 

"Ten organisations coming forward, and the positive response to the crowdfunding initiative, is a clear signal of just how much people across the city value the farm.

"I am pleased to see that the liquidator Shona Campbell is supporting employees in their claims for redundancy and other entitlements and also making sure the animals continue to be cared for. 

"We will continue to work closely with Shona and do everything we can to try and secure a sustainable future for the farm."

The 40-year-old charity promotes environmental sustainability, community development and social inclusion by providing volunteering opportunities and support to disadvantaged young people and adults.

Gorgie City Farm has welcomed around 200,000 visitors a year since it was saved from closure in 2016 after a successful crowdfunding appeal raised in excess of £100,000.

As well as being a visitor attraction, it is also a working farm and provides assisted volunteering experience for hundreds of people each year who face barriers to employment.

In July, the Queen visited the farm, where she met volunteers and was joined on a tour by a "cheeky duck who thinks she's a human".

The monarch was told about little Olive's adventures, who had been known to wander out of the farm and get on a bus.

The four-year-old bird managed to steal the show as she waddled beside the Queen who was concluding her week of royal engagements in Scotland. Olive passed away in September.

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