The farm was originally established by Gloucester City Council in partnership with local people who got together over the idea to convert this then derelict and overgrown piece of land into a ‘city farm’, so children from the area could see and learn about farm animals. After plenty of planning, meetings, debates and consultation, eventually ‘St James City Farm’, was established in 1998.
However, after several years of running successfully, in 2010 the Council was considering different ways of making savings, and the City Farm was marked for closure. It so happened that a couple of people from the ‘The Friendship Café’, a registered charity, that ran youth and community projects as well as a gym, used to keep bees on Robinswood Hill, and an informal conversation with the manager, Derek Wakefield-Brown (who used to manage both sites – City Farm and Robinswood Hill) led to a proposal of the possibility of The Friendship Café taking over the City Farm, to save it from closing down.
This idea led to several meetings between the Council and the Friendship Café volunteers until eventually, in 2011, Gloucester City Council formally handed over full management of St James City Farm to The Friendship Café, who now run the farm as part of the charity, alongside other community projects, mainly based nearby, at the Chequersbridge Centre in Painswick Road.
Ever since the takeover, the farm has been constantly improving, with hundreds of volunteers getting involved, school visits, a thriving gardening project, a café built on site (May 2013), new animal housing, a much wider variety of animals, and the establishment of the riding school for local
children (December 2013).
We thank everybody for their support – from volunteers who give up their time, to the small and large, public and private organisations and businesses who lend us their support in lots of different ways, financially or with practical help, throughout the year. Together, St James City Farm manages to stay open. Help us to keep City Farm open and admission free of charge by donating whatever you can towards our running costs.
Thank you for your support!