We have amazing news!
We reached our target of 55% on Friday 22nd January. This is more than I’d ever hope to raise from the ‘crowd’. There was a big spike in donations in the last week and we jumped up from around £4000 to over £5500! The extra £5k was supposed to come from ‘Extra funding’ (grant funders matching the donation through Crowdfunder ), See more below….
We are so grateful. The letters, seeds, mugs and T-shirts are coming, the trees are being purchased and will be planted soon. We will keep everyone updated of our progress.
It is snowing here on the farm today. Beautiful, fat, quiet flakes of REAL SNOW.
I want to get out there with my family and feel it on my tongue and build a snowman if possible. We need to check the sheep have everything they needs and the hens are warm and dry.
So briefly before I go, this is a sequel to my last Blog post http://www.blackgrovefarm.org/crowdfundingwhat-they-dont-tell-you/ about my experience so far with crowdfunding and the HCC CIF (Herts county council community innovation fund).
After being awarded match funding from the HCC, we were overjoyed!
They were supporting the project and would match our supporters donations. I knew we needed to raise at least £5000, for it to be matched by £5000 to reach our target of £10k.
Before the first Christmas deadline, HCC pledged a confusing £500! we are very grateful for it but it wasn’t the advertised £5k! I extended the deadline to find out what was happening.
In early January HCC contacted me to say there would definitely be more funding coming from them, it was their first year using Crowdfunder and that is why there was this confusion.
Finally on Thursday, the day before the campaign was due to close for the second time, and after 6 weeks of being told that HCC had still not made a decision about whether they would be making any more pledges to the Black Grove Greens Campaign, (they had stopped answering my calls and their emails were very vague and apologetic), I was informed by crowdfunder that HCC has withdrawn its support because they had doubts about our ability to carry out the project due to some unresolved planning issues.
So there it was, finally! Our local Counsellor David Andrews had not endorsed funding.
We have been making an appeal with the planning inspectorate since last December 2018.
It takes a long time and now the hearing will be delayed till after February.
The appeal is about potential use of temporary structures on the land to live in as we have an essential need to be here to manage the 7 symbiotic enterprises going on here!
It is not related to holding volunteer days in the garden.
This is an agricultural holding and all agricultural activities are exempt from planning so that farmers are not obstructed in their key work of growing food.
It is tantamount to withdrawing funding from a project because the director of the company is appealing a decision on renovating his loft.
Last year we were awarded funding from Awards for all and completed that project.
So for this reason I have made a formal complaint to both Crowdfunding and the HCC.
In my opinion we have been discriminated against, there has been an abuse of trust and the whole manner in which the extra funding has been administrated and the poor communication and ‘discretionary’ nature of the award is open to abuse and obstructive to the fundraiser. Its basically missold.
The campaign has been extended for a further 4 days to resolve
I will keep you informed of the progress of the complaint and HCC are doing an internal investigation.
We obviously do not wish to enter into any kind of contractual relationship with them after this experience and I’m looking forward to leaving this negativity behind me but hopefully in the future they will support the project as its working towards many of their key priorities.
I am applying to other funds at the last minute to but even if your generous donations are not matched, please be assured that the volunteer days will go ahead and more food will be grown, thanks to you and only you. Power to the people!