A farm which provides training and work for people with additional support needs will finally reopen more than a year after a campaign was launched to save it.
Easter Anguston Farm, which is operated by the social care charity VSA, gives opportunities to people with learning disabilities and other needs, while also raising much-needed funds.
When Covid-19 restrictions were first put in place last March, the farm was forced to close – leading to fears it would have to shut its doors for good because of the ongoing cost of maintaining it.
Campaign to save farm
A campaign, supported by the Evening Express and Press and Journal, was launched with the aim of raising the £10,000 per week needed to pay staff, feed animals and maintain the site at Peterculter.
The farm has since been saved – and now it is set to welcome back the first visitors later this month.
VSA chief executive Dr Kenneth Simpson said: “We are delighted to be in the position to welcome back families to Easter Anguston Farm.
“We will be opening to the general public from June 25, and initially, we will be open on weekends only, with the aim of us working towards returning to our regular operating hours in late autumn.
Charity needs ongoing support
“We know how much the farm means to thousands of families who visit us each year.
“We would not be able to reopen had it not been for the incredible support we have received.
“To date, Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on us, and we would continue to ask for people to support us when they can.”
Prior to the pandemic, Easter Anguston welcomed around 20,000 visitors every year.
After the appeal was successful, VSA’s director of external relations Jennifer Mitchell paid tribute to those who had donated.
She said: “It is truly humbling that at these uncertain times, that people from across Aberdeen and beyond are thinking of others and giving so generously.
“We are so incredibly grateful to everyone who has donated to our appeal. We have been blown away by the love and support people have for the farm. It is with thanks to people’s support and generosity that we can actively plan and prepare for this vital community resource to reopen.”
In order to keep the farm Covid-secure, it is now essential to pre-book tickets to visit the farm. VSA has set up a booking platform on its website.
There is no charge for entry, but the charity asks for donations to allow it to operate.