Update | March 2020
Big apologies for another long delay since our last update. We had high hopes that the next one would be full of great news and updates on progress but alas our plans have been thwarted, this time by COVID-19. During the last update, we advised you about the longstanding drainage issues under the farm site which were preventing us from laying foundations. In some positive news, we can report that through pro bono support from Amey we have had a full survey and clearance of the entire drainage system and alongside some support from Local Tool Hire Company a repair was done to a collapsed drain – which finally means we are ready to lay our foundations. While the drainage issues were being dealt with, we also made great progress on finalising cafe designs and getting building control clearance to begin work. This whole process has been a new one for us, so it’s been a real learning journey. We have definitely been regularly comparing ourselves to an episode of Grand Designs, falling into the common trap of under budget and slipping timelines. Which is frustrating when many issues are outside of our control. Anyway, we were really hopeful that if the foundations went in by end of March, all things going well, we would have been ready for an early summer opening. However, as we all know the world has somewhat ground to a halt and unfortunately Amey who had kindly offered to lay our foundations have had to stop work for the time being. With full lockdown now in place, we have had to give in to the shared reality and accept that our cafe will take a little longer to complete. We realise this is disappointing but we will do everything we can to deliver the café as soon as possible. For full transparency, we also want you to know that the £50k contribution from the Mayor of London is paid in arrears so we are expected to spend £50k first. We are also unfortunately still waiting for some remaining crowdfund pledges to be released from PayPal and Barnet council. So the unlocking the pledges to pay for the build is an ongoing challenge. Whilst some of us have been busying ourselves on pushing the cafe build forward our incredible garden team have been working hard to build a whole new herbal and sensory garden, supported by a £2k grant from the Postcode Lottery.
A week before the lockdown our wonderful community came together and worked miracles to ensure that the new garden area was near completion. Already we have seen more people stop by to observe the changes that are taking place and enjoy this space. This will be an incredible resource for our community both through this crisis and beyond (see pic attached). We’ve sadly had to pause our regular gardening sessions on Fridays and Saturdays with local schools and residents. Our team are still working hard maintaining our two garden spaces and preparing the second half of the farm garden for a new much larger greenhouse which will be used to deliver workshops to schools and the community. They are growing lots of produce and flowers for the growing season ahead. Some of which we will be selling as advertised on our twitter feed. If you are interested please get in touch with Patrick Kirwan our garden manager (email@example.com). He can arrange pick up outside the farm garden at a scheduled time ensuring that we are maintaining social distancing and keeping everyone safe and well. We’re hopeful that we will all be able to enjoy our garden spaces again in the coming months. We finished our Good Growth Feasibility study with architects RCKa in December and went straight into a submission process for the next round full Good Growth Fund application. Incredibly, we got through the first round of the process and were offered £1m in funding to work on a refurbishing a portion of the farm buildings. But as part of this process we had to secure a further £1m of match funding to unlock all of the funds. Unfortunately, although we’ve had very positive behind the scenes conversations we weren’t able to secure the match of £1m in time for the deadline. So, we have now been put in a pool of shortlisted projects and may still be eligible for funding if we can secure match funding in the next few months. Returning to the immediate challenge we’re all facing – for those of you that don’t know – one of overarching aims is to ‘build and support resilient and sustainable communities in and around NW London’. The question we have been asking ourselves is how do we continue to build connections and foster resilience in a time of crisis, moreover in a time of ‘social distancing’?
We are a very small primarily volunteer-run organisation and in the absence of an indoor space to connect, we, like many others, are turning to the world of technology to bridge that gap. We are currently applying for a small grant to try and help us to capacity-build our volunteer pool to be able to run online meet-ups and training sessions. In short, we hope to take online some of the work we have been used to doing face to face. We have so many creative and talented people around us and we want to ensure that we can still support them to continue to share their skills with the community. In doing so we are hoping we can continue to connect with you all, indeed perhaps build new relationships that were previously not possible. We don’t know if we will be successful with this funding application so please do get in contact if you think you can help us make this happen. In addition to trying to take our offer online, we are looking at how we can ensure some of the most vulnerable amongst us get the support they need through this crisis.
The Farm Team
UPDATE | OCTOBER 2019
Happy Halloween to all our supporters!
It’s been a while since we last updated you. But fear not, we have been very busy this summer. We hope lots of you were able to enjoy our many events and activities we held over the last few months – with great food, music, art, natural cosmetics workshops, intro to bee-keeping, apple pressing, furniture building, gardening, an Open House London event, and much more. In late August we demolished our old temporary cafe and began the groundwork for the new cafe space. Sadly, we have not been able to move as fast as we would have liked as we have discovered that some of the old drains under the building have collapsed and are going to involve significant unexpected costs and works to reinstate. We have had some pro-bono support from Amey to try and uncover what work needs to be done and we’re still working our way through this, but we’re hopeful we can get over this hurdle soon and start construction on the new space. Meanwhile, we have continued at pace with our Good Growth Fund Feasibility study and have gone through a detailed process of working out what the future of Clitterhouse Farm could look like. We will post the full report up on our website soon for you all to see, but we’ve attached a photo of one of the early proposed phases of work in this update for you to look at. Most recently we have been busy submitting a series of much larger funding applications to pay for the future phases of work and for the team to deliver it.
If we get through the first rounds of these applications we will be working hard to build the case for support and to bring in the millions of pounds that we will need to bring the farm back into use. Exciting times! We will post another update soon with more details on our plans for the future and of course on how we’re progressing with the cafe construction.
Thank you again for all your continued support.
The Farm Team
UPDATE | JULY 2019
As many of you will have seen from our recent newsletters, we have finally been granted planning permission. Which is great news! It has been a much longer and more complicated process than we would have liked, but we have reached an important milestone. We’re now working with our architects, the council, the Mayor of London and others to get moving on the demolition of our current pop up cafe and to start construction of the new cafe space and workshops. The demolition will be happening in August and construction will continue up to the end of 2019 and into early 2020. We will send out a separate update shortly with details of next steps and key dates. Thank you again to all of you for your support and patience with us as we navigated our way through the planning process. The exciting phase of building is to come!
Update | March 14th 2019
Firstly, many apologies for the radio silence. The farm team have been busy and we have a few updates for you.
1.) Planning permission and the bats! We have now completed our bat survey and the ecology report has come back with some recommendations. The good news is the café should not impact any bats that are roosting in the farm buildings so this should not be a stumbling block for planning. We’ve submitted the report to the Barnet planning department and we’re waiting to hear back about next steps. Hopefully, we will get permission in the next few weeks.
2.) Pledges: Most of you will have received email notifications from Spacehive over the last few weeks saying that they have deducted your pledges through PayPal and GoCardless. We know there are a few outstanding payments but most of the money should have been collected by now. The Farm Project has not received any of the monies yet as GoCardless and Paypal hold onto the pledges until planning permission has been granted. Once permission has been received the money will be transferred across to us and we can start to make headway in terms of commissioning a construction partner and buying materials. We will of course keep you posted on how things progress.
3.) Good Growth Fund. You may be interested to know, that we are in the process of commissioning a consultant to develop a feasibility study and strategic delivery plan for the wider farm site. This is being funded by the Mayor of London Good Growth Funding. This is a very important piece of work and will help build the case for our plans for the rest of the farm buildings. We will send you updates on this as and when we have them.
4.) Farm Garden: The garden is going from strength to strength and any of you have visited recently will have seen that we have made great progress with a new seating area and pergola and the spring bulbs are starting to bloom (see attached photo). We’re open most Mondays 10-11am, Fridays, 9-11am (we have school groups between 11am-2.30pm) and Saturdays 10am-1pm. But please check social media (links below) for latest updates. We are always looking for new people who want to join the garden team so please email patrick (@) clitterhouse dot com if you’d like to find out how you can get involved.
5.) Existing café: As we are still waiting for planning permission to come through before we can begin construction on our expanded café, we have decided to temporarily reopen the existing café every Saturday from April onwards. If you are keen to support the running of café, either by becoming a trained barista, by donating home-baked goodies or have another skill to offer then please email Paulette on firstname.lastname@example.org That’s all for now. We’ll endeavour to send out more regular updates and hopefully our next message will be telling you that planning permission has been approved. Thanks again for all your support and generosity. The Farm Team.
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/chfarm
Update | Jan 30th 2019
A belated happy new year to you all! We hope you all had a restful break over Christmas. The Farm Team have been working behind the scenes on our next steps. We are currently awaiting for planning permission from Barnet Council. This is taking a bit longer than expected as we had to revise some drawings and we need to wait for the results of an ecologist’s report on bats which are known to use some of the farm buildings as a home. We expect to hear back from the planning department in late February to early March. Once we have planning approval and lease arrangements with Barnet in place we will draw down the crowdfund pledges from Spacehive. Please note: Spacehive may withdraw money from pledgers bank accounts in early February but will hold the monies in their account until we have planning etc formally in place.
We have already begun the construction planning process, and all going well, we are aiming for a late spring 2019 build to be ready to open later this summer. We will of course update you with a more specific timeline when this is in place.
We want to involve as many people from our community in this process as possible and hope that you will come along and get involved. We are looking to work with a builder who will provide opportunities for people to get training where possible – such as timber frame building, electrics, plumbing, roofing amongst others. We will need lots of help and support beyond just building skills, so if you would like to help us, but are not sure how to get involved please contact us on email@example.com
While we are going through the planning and building process we are still keeping an active presence on site. We are making great progress in our farm garden and are always looking for help and to see new and familiar faces – we are there most Fridays and Saturday mornings. Keep any eye on our social media and on our website for updates of events and activities taking place (links below).
We would like again to take this opportunity to show our deepest gratitude to our community for helping to make this all possible. 2019 promises to be a very exciting year for the Clitterhouse Farm Project.
The Farm Team
UPDATE – 17th December 2018
We hit our crowdfund target! 🎉Thank you to everyone who has helped make this happen, for your generous pledges and your hard work & encouragement along the way! We’ve been humbled by all the support. 2019 will be an exciting year at the Farm!
Our crowdfund page remains open for pledges for another 30 days. Please continue to support us as every pound will be used to deliver a great space for our community to enjoy. Thank you!
WE’RE CROWDFUNDING TO BUILD A NEW COMMUNITY CAFE AND WORKSHOPS AND WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
CROWDFUND UPDATE: £50,000 PLEDGE FROM THE MAYOR OF LONDON!
With your help, we successfully proved our case to the Mayor of London and unlocked the highest value pledge of £50,000!! We have been humbled by all of your support and we would not have got this far without all of your pledges and for helping us to spread the word! With this incredible pledge we are a lot closer to reaching our target, but…
We only have until 17th December to raise a lot of money, so we need you all to keep getting the word out there about our crowdfund and encouraging friends, family and local businesses to support us.
If we don’t reach our target, you will not be charged and we won’t receive any of the money.
WHY ARE WE CROWDFUNDING?
Watch our short video below to find out why we are crowdfunding…
Our successful volunteer-run community cafe at Clitterhouse Farm is too small and no longer fit for purpose. We are crowdfunding to raise the money we need to demolish and rebuild a new and much larger multi-use space. The expanded area will provide a valuable indoor space and play a central role in our ability to connect with and work alongside our community, where we can host events, meetings and workshops throughout the year. We want our cafe to be a valuable social hub that will help us to build a broader base of community support for the wider project. Alongside the cafe expansion, we plan to refurbish a portion of the farm barn to create three large workshop spaces which will be made available for rent by local enterprise. The workshops will also act as educational facilities where we will run classes and workshops – giving arts and crafts professionals an affordable space, an opportunity to learn new skills, and develop their business and to benefit our local community. Throughout the construction we hope to give local people the chance to get involved in the construction as much as possible, providing opportunities for learning new skills and also to develop a sense of collective ownership and pride over the new spaces.
EVERY POUND COUNTS AND WE VERY MUCH APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT!
PLEASE NOTE: If you don’t choose the PayPal option, the Spacehive system may ask you to set up a direct debit, but don’t worry it’s only for a one-off payment and pledges will only be charged to your bank account if the project hits its funding goal.
What we’ll deliver:
- An upgraded and enlarged community cafe
- Buy & install the catering equipment we need
- Three multi-use workshop spaces for local enterprise
Why it’s a great idea:
The Farm sits within the major Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration. The development has been in the pipeline for many years but has yet to break ground. Years of delays have caused widespread regeneration blight & there has been little to no investment in local infrastructure or community facilities. Our project currently provides a much-needed positive focal point for our community & will continue to so during and after the regeneration. Our community engagement to date shows a high demand for informal meeting places & affordable shared workshops, workspaces & offices. Our volunteer-run cafe has successfully filled some of this demand but we need a bigger space & improved facilities to make a bigger positive impact. A growing & increasingly diverse local community is eager to access such a space – where they can meet & connect, share stories, build relationships, learn new skills & create the community fabric that will build long term resilience in a time of great local change.
Steps to get it done:
- Ongoing: community engagement
- Autumn 2018: Planning permission granted
- Winter 2018: Existing cafe space demolished and site cleared
- Spring 2019: Cafe workspace built
- Spring 2018: Workshops stripped and cleaned
- Spring 2019: Workshops fitted out
- Summer 2019: Workshops rented
- Summer 2019: Cafe opened