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St. Paul's Community Development Trust

New Partnership Gives Hope to City Farm

St. Paul’s Community Development Trust are happy to announce that following lengthy discussions with a number of organisations agreement has been reached with The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS) that will secure the long term viability of the Balsall Heath City Farm.

Threatened with closure since December 2018 St. Paul’s have been working with a number of organisations to try to secure the long-term viability of the City Farm. Now agreement has been reached with TAWS which means that the farm which has operated in Balsall Heath for over 40 years will remain open.

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Working with St Paul’s TAWS want to create new opportunities for people to become active and engaged in society and there will be a focus on using the farm as a place to bring people together.

Chief Executive of St. Paul’s David Cusack said: “We are delighted that we have agreed a partnership with The Active Wellbeing Society that keeps our farm open and will allow both children and adults to use the facilities as a place to learn, volunteer, develop new skills and to just enjoy the facility. I’d like to thank TAWs but also the many people who have rallied around to look at ways to secure the farm’s future, we will continue to raise money through the newly established “Friends of the Farm” to improve the facilities at the farm”

TAWS Chief Executive Karen Creavin said:  “The City Farm is a vital space for children and families in Birmingham. We are really pleased to be able to work collaboratively with St. Paul’s to ensure that this project has a future and can contribute to the increased wellbeing of our citizens. We are working with Sport England and Birmingham City Council on an initiative called Active Communities. The City Farm, and the ongoing partnership with St. Paul’s, will both be a key element of how Active Communities comes to life in this part of the city”.

The Active Wellbeing Society are working together with The Real Junk Food Project to bring a community kitchen to the Farm, offering meals on a Pay as you Feel able basis. The kitchen will be up and running in time for the summer holidays and will play a vital role tackling food poverty over the summer.

For more information please contact:

Chief Executive David Cusack

David.Cusack@stpaulstrust.org.uk

0121 464 4376

07957 678817

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The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS)

The Active Wellbeing Society was established in June 2017. It was set up by staff from Birmingham City Council, and the intention of the council was to establish a Community Benefit Society to transfer its former Wellbeing Service into a self-determining, standalone community company. As a mutual, set up under cooperative principles, all assets are locked for community benefit. Members of the Society are made up of staff, volunteers, and citizens. In July 2018 staff and projects from the Council’s Wellbeing Service were transferred across to the organisation.

TAWs has a staffing compliment of 53, with an annual budget of over £4 million. We do not have any physical assets yet, although we are working with the council of a number of asset transfers as part of the review of the wellbeing sites and hubs. It is envisaged that by the end of the calendar year the Society will take possession of a number of community based physical assets.

Since leaving the council, we have won a number of new contracts and the council’s funding of us currently constitutes less than 30% of our funding. We are coming to the end of our first full financial year of trading in our complete form, with our first financial year constituting our set up year in reality.

One of the projects we have successful secured is working with BCC and Solihull MBC as partners in the Sport England Local Delivery Pilot status. We have secured £9.72m over the next 2.5 years to work collaboratively with a wide range of partners to develop ‘Active Communities’

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