Bath City Farm has been awarded £125,000 from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Neighbourhood Fund for the development of a new community café (architect’s plans shown above).

Bath City Forum allocated the CIL funding from the charge Bath & North East Somerset Council places on developers to support infrastructure improvements.

Bath City Farm, in Kelston View, Whiteway, is a free community health and wellbeing centre accessible to all. Its mission is to help build a strong, healthy and caring community by connecting people with nature and farming. It runs projects designed to help people combat mental health issues, drug dependency and social isolation as well providing a safe setting for children to let off steam after school. The projects are designed to encourage people to maximise their capabilities and gain resilience and confidence to have control over their lives.

The new café will bring a number of benefits including enabling the farm to expand its essential work promoting social cohesion, increasing the number and type of training programmes and work experience opportunities it can provide and helping volunteers to develop social and employment skills. It will also mean that the farm can generate a steady income reducing its reliance on earmarked grant funding.

Councillor Colin Blackburn, Bath City Forum Chair, said, “Bath City Farm is one of the largest City Farms in the country, but it’s so much more than just a ‘farm’. The new purpose-built café will enable the farm to expand its fantastic work and turn it into a year-round, whatever-the-weather place to learn about food and farming and enjoy a green environment.

“It will enable the farm to provide more volunteering opportunities, increase the training and hands-on learning it provides residents while continuing to provide an important safe venue for many other public and third sector organisations to run their projects or courses from.”

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, added, “In 2017, 20,000 people visited Bath City Farm and more than 680 residents took part in the various projects offered there.

“The farm provides so much to so many from supporting families coming out of crisis and enabling them to enjoy quality time together whilst learning new healthy ways to cope with their children’s behaviour to working with the Hillview Mental Health Unit and Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Mental Health Trust (AWP) to provide placements for inpatients who have been sectioned and are ready for discharge.

“The new facility will help Bath City Farm build on its excellent work educating and inspiring communities to love nature, wildlife, horticulture and farming.”

Subject to securing additional grant funding, work on the new cafe building is expected to begin this autumn and be completed next spring.