A MAJOR campaign for volunteers and fundraising has been launched to maintain the popular Tam O’Shanter farm in Wirral.
Tam O’Shanter Cottage Urban Farm Trust Treasurer and Trustee Jo Wood MBE said the goal is to become a community farm again with lots of volunteer projects so that the hundreds of people who apply each month can truly be a part to make things happen.
She told The Globe: “It has been a difficult few years for all of us. No one can deny it and for now we can expect what we can achieve in 2022.
“As a small, local, independent charity, with no mandatory statutory funding, Tam O’Shanter Farm struggled in the same way as so many other charities. Having to shut down to the public, having to cancel fundraising events, having to cancel room and party reservations – have all meant our income has been reduced to almost zero throughout the pandemic.
“Add to that the fact that we just couldn’t put our staff on leave. The animals and the farm still needed to be cared for. You can imagine the constant decline in our bank balance.
“We have also fallen foul of new environmental health regulations that came into effect in April 2021 which required us to double fencing all of our animals to ensure members of the public cannot touch them (concerns about transmission of ‘E-Coli).
“It shattered our business plan, as all of our ideas of how to make our farm pay – revolved around giving members of the public, time with the animals, days of animal experience, etc. . All now banned.
“And then we had the two storms and the bird flu – just when we were hoping things would kick in for Christmas – so all the remaining pennies went to fixing the roofs, locking up the birds. and cutting down fallen trees.
“From the end of January, we will simply not have the money to pay full-time staff – so no more managers.
“So, we will have to go back to basics. Our charitable objects are” to advance education and provide leisure and social assistance facilities to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of Wirral “And this is are we going to do! ”
Damage caused by the recent storm. Image: Joséphine Wood
One of the inhabitants of Tam O’Shanter. Image: Joséphine Wood
Jo continued, “To attract funding we have to go back to wildlife and nature education, with a lot of sustained volunteering.
“We get hundreds of requests every month from schools, colleges, mental health agencies, but we have no one to manage or coordinate volunteers at any level – and nothing to pay them to.”
Tam O’Shanter’s Nature Walk is almost complete. Image: Joséphine Wood
“Unfortunately, the funding we got from the National Lottery Community Fund came right as Covid hit, so we didn’t go too far with our plans.
“We are starting from scratch. Magenta has done a wonderful job redesigning the volunteer space and conference rooms. We have everything we need to make it happen; we just need support.
“By February 1, we must have recruited and trained enough volunteers to take care of our animals every day of the year.”
Mrs Wood, whose father Harold Burns helped build Tam O’Shanter in the 1970s, added: “The polytunnel (pictured above) at the top end of the farm is cleaned up and ready to plant all kinds of bedding plants and herbs which be sold to visitors.
“The subdivision is also cleared and ready to be dug, fertilized (a lot produced on site) and planted to give us a reserve of fruits and vegetables to sell, use or give. All that’s missing is you.
“We need people who can offer support with volunteers working in planting and growing fruits, vegetables and herbs and developing them into funded roles.
“We want to be able to tackle the many challenges people have faced over the past two years – we want to provide wellness, personal outdoor challenges that improve our mental health by just being outdoors and our physical health by getting down and getting dirty and nosing around!
“We need nature and wildlife experts to get involved in the development of our wildlife area – mapping the many species that have returned since we returned the site to nature.
The wildlife pond at Tam O’Shanter. Image: Joséphine Wood
“We want schools and colleges to appreciate what we do and offer to make a monthly or annual donation to allow us to do internships, give children and youth the opportunity to develop their program outside of the classroom. – learn more about farm animals, and the natural world firsthand and not just through books.
“We really want to take your internships, but without the financial backing it’s just not safe to do so.
“So we need funds – lots of funds and we KNOW there will be people reading this who can help sponsor a project, position, volunteer program, mental wellness program and more. again.
“Throughout the month of January, we will be organizing volunteer interviews and training for those who want to get involved.
“Please contact us for application forms, more information, ways to support us, how to get involved as a stakeholder, how to donate.
“Your turn – let’s go”
If you would like to contribute to the future of Tam O’Shanter, send an email to: email@example.com