Over 30 people came to the forest garden last Friday – a melting pot that included people with learning difficulties, students and a youngster in care who we are working with to achieve an Open College Network qualification.
The winter sun shone, people worked hard, had a laugh and tucked into a home made pie cooked over the fire.
It was perfect, and this happens week after week (just not always in the sunshine). You can see from our annual report how much of a punch our small charity packs on a shoestring. And you can see the positive impact our work has to all involved.
And yet the night before at our trustees meeting we scratched our heads and asked just how are we meant to function on thin air.
Thanks to school budget cuts, the education work we had built up for years, collapsed and now we have to fundraise to offer subsidised places.
Disability services are decimated, so more people are being sent to the project with no funding attached.
Funders want fun, excitement, something new – not boring old core costs. No one wants to pay for the essentials like insurance, rent, wages that support the charity’s continuity and longer term sustainability.
This is nothing new, but it’s the perfect storm that so many small charities are facing. Increasing demand, with fewer funds available - and greater competition between charities for each funding opportunity. No wonder so many are going to the wall.
But there is a very simple way you can help. Become a Friend of the Forest Garden for as little as £2 a month. Currently we earn £330 a month this way and would love to get it to £500. This would cover the boring stuff and stop us having sleepless nights.
If you need convincing, come up one Friday to see what we get up to, share a meal with everyone and see how our little charity tackles some of the big issues head on - like loneliness, food poverty, education and feeling part of a community.
* Details of how to become a Friend of the Forest Garden are here