After a very long wait from the grant body for the Renovation of the Old Dairy, Advantage West Midlands, we were put forward to their approval panel today and approved! Whoop whoop 🙂
The last few weeks and months have involved a lot of emails back and forth, supplying more evidence and answering their questions. Obviously, with the budget cuts everyone is watching their money very carefully and we were beginning to get concerned that the funding level would be dropped considerably.
However, the team at our Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands, are very supportive of our project and are really keen for it to succeed. They see the vital benefit that Fordhall has for the local community and for tourism in the area. They want to help us involve more people in the farm and spread the wonderful message of local food, conserving our natural environment and living sustainably. A big thank you to Jo Jury at the Regional Development Agency who has held our hand through the whole process and been a fantastic support.
The funding came through the Rural Development Programme for England and will contribute 40% towards the project costs. The exciting result is that contractors will be on site early November. So, we still hope to complete the bulk of the work by Easter 2011, so you can all pop over for your tea and cake!
A lot of work has gone into this application by the team at Fordhall Farm, but special thanks must go to Sharon Jones for her many hours spent working on the application, to our board for their guidance and positive support and not least to all of YOU. Without your support during our desperate appeal in July, this funding would not have been released.
This building will be built in memory of our later father, Arthur Hollins. Without his dedication to organic farming Ben and I, and all of our shareholders, would not have the wonderful foundation that we have at Fordhall today. It is his legacy and his philosophies of life and nature that will be exemplified through the new building and through its use for the local and wider community.
This marks an important step for the Fordhall Community Land Initiative. It creates the ability to take more formal educational groups and the ability to generate our own revenue to support this educational work. The management team will now go over the budgets to check that everything is still on track and that we are achieving the highest environmental standards we can within the budget that we have for the building. All funds raised from now on will allow us to improve those credentials, exchanging more energy intensive materials for more natural and sensitive alternatives (click on the link below if you would still like to contribute AND have your name on the plaque inside the building).
Many, many thanks once again and warmest wishes to you all – now to the beginning of another important journey for Fordhall Organic Farm.