Bath-based Roper Rhodes, one of the UK’s leading independent suppliers of bathroom furniture and bathroom products, is to match new donations to Bath City Farm’s ongoing £50,000 appeal.
Bath City Farm has been supporting vulnerable people living in Bath for over 25 years, but is now at risk due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Last month, the charity turned to the community for help, launching an appeal seeking to raise £50,000 by October to secure the farm’s future.
The charity receives no government funding and has lost all their regular commercial income during lockdown, their busiest time of the year.
Farm Manager Helen Fisher said they only have funds to keep them open until the end of this year.
Roper Rhodes, a Bath-based family business, are long supporters of the charity and have now offered to match all new donations given to the farm’s appeal, up to £20,000, in a bid to help keep the farm open.
Paul Roper, Managing Director, said: “Bath City Farm is an oasis of countryside in the midst of the City. It provides a very real and valuable service to the local and wider Bath community.
“The charity is so much more than a few animals. In these difficult times many charities are facing a threat to their very existence and to lose them will be to the detriment of our society.
“Bath City Farm is facing such a threat. I would urge businesses and individuals in the community, who are in a position to do so, to step up on their support for local community projects such as Bath City Farm.
“We need these organisations more than ever, which is why we have decided to match fund all future donations up to £20,000.”
The farm, based in Twerton, is a free visitor attraction and runs a wide range of projects to support members of the community who are experiencing difficult times in their lives.
Local resident Colin Van is just one of the 800 people a year that the farm supports.
He has been going to the farm for nearly 6 years and said he would be completely lost without it.
He said: “During the lockdown the farm have been delivering meals to my door and regularly checking in to ask how I am. I live alone and it’s been great to have someone to have a chat and a laugh with you know.”
Helen Fisher, Farm Manager, added: “Operating a charity is complex, we have funding to run our projects but very little of that is for core costs like rent, water, electricity, maintaining pathways and fences or buying animal food.
“We rely on visitors to help us pay for these things by giving onsite donations or hire our rooms out for parties. With the farm closed we no longer have these streams of income.
“If you have been thinking about donating to our appeal, please consider giving today. Your contribution will now be doubled thanks to Roper Rhodes generous match fund initiative.
“I would like to send my sincere thanks to the Roper family and to the other 160 plus people who have given money to our appeal.”
All but 5 part-time members of staff at Bath City Farm have been furloughed, yet it costs £850 a day just to keep the farm open.
Behind the scenes, staff are busy supporting the community through their weekly live animal feeds, which have been broadcast via Facebook, and managing an emergency response meals on wheels programme to support those in need delivery over 2,000 meals.
If you would like to support Bath City Farm’s appeal, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/BCF25.