KIND-HEARTED donors have helped to raise £11,000 to keep a farm afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lauriston Farm, in Goldhanger, launched an emergency reserves appeal to raise £10,000 to support its work amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Since the outbreak, the farm has lost a large amount of its turnover after it was forced to close to the public.

The site has almost 200 members and usually hosts primary schools and college students, and runs educational programs for the community. Now the farm has raised £11,475.

Farm director Spencer Christy said: “This level of support for our work is truly humbling and we are all very grateful.

“This fund, together with the Government’s Small Business Grant, will take us through to after the lockdown has been lifted, which we anticipate to be August. So we continue our work with renewed vigour.

“Our attention will now turn to how we can reopen our doors safely, enabling social distancing to be carried out without adversely affecting the shared meal times, tea breaks and workshops that are such a feature of farm life here.

“To address this, we are raising funds for a new, large meeting and eating room as well as workshop space.

“This will ensure, whatever the weather, we can host people and comply with the guidelines on Covid-19 working practices.

“We need to have this room built in July and we estimate it will cost £12,000 and we are pursuing various avenues for it including crowdfunding.

“In addition to this, it is clear that we will need extra hands on deck for social farming as requirements will be higher and we are also anticipating an increase in demand for our services.

“For this we shall raise £25,000 for a full-time equivalent member of staff for one year, starting in August, and we hope this will then be self funded as our participants and turnover increases.

“We are also seeking volunteers to help in the vegetable garden - if you have a few spare hours each week get in touch.”