Friends of Firs Farm Crowdfunding appeal by Helen Osman, Trustee, the Friends of Firs Farm

25th October 2022

Friends of Firs Farm Crowdfunding appeal by Helen Osman, Trustee, the Friends of Firs Farm We are building an amazing cafe and community space in Firs Farm Wetlands, but we need your help. 

The Friends of Firs Farm have launched an urgent appeal to help to save our Community Hub project, as the £200,000 we have already raised is no longer enough to build our vision, as a result of rising building costs. We have enough to build the ‘shell’ but not enough to fit it out as the stylish café and light filled community & educational space we are aiming for. 

We are appealing to our local community, to contribute just a small amount – the price of a couple of cappuccinos, as we need to get this building erected by the end of the year. 

How many of you have been to Firs Farm, sandwiched between Firs Lane and the A10 or are even aware of its transformation from muddy field to award winning wetlands in less than a decade? 

Agricultural land, war time internment camp, sports fields, this little local patch has served the community in many ways. Now it has an even bigger role, not only as an important new green space for people to visit but in helping to reduce pollution from roads & neighbouring properties and reducing the risk of flooding downstream in Edmonton. 

As the site has grown into a rich wildlife habitat, Firs Farm has attracted more visitors to the new ‘blue/green’ space. Not only local residents but also schools, universities and environmental groups from across the country keen to understand the role that Sustainable Urban Wetlands (SUDs) could play in addressing these urgent environmental problems. 

The Friends of Firs Farm, first formed in 2014 manage the wetlands as unpaid volunteers. Since the site was excavated in 2016, we have planted more than a thousand trees and shrubs; fundraised to provide picnic tables, outdoor table tennis, for summer festivals and children’s events and lots more. 

For the past five years we have been pitching for community funds for our most ambitious vision – to build a café, community space & environmental centre at Firs Farm. Enfield Council have been persuaded to grant us a lease and planning permission to erect a modular building on the derelict site between the wetlands and the sports pitches. This is a perfect location as having facilities, including toilets will regenerate the underused Firs Farm playing fields. 

Sports England are providing us with a grant of £80,000 to build the hub as having this exciting new destination will encourage more people to visit Firs Farm – to ‘get out and get active’. 

We pitched for and won funding for a Changing Places toilet, which will enable people requiring assistance from carers to spend time in the Firs Farm; which is ideal for wheelchairs & buggies with a mile long perimeter track, also extensively used by joggers, walkers, youngsters on scooters (like my grandson). This may not seem a big deal to the likes of you and me but disability groups are excited about the prospect of a Changing Places toilet. Lots of schools visit Firs Farm as part of the curriculum but with no toilets or hand washing facilities there is a limit to how long the children can stay. 

This is a legacy project, creating an important new wildlife habitat for future generations. 

You can read more about our story on the crowdfunding page. Please pop down to Firs Farm, we are always keen to have more volunteers and it will be tree planting season shortly. But before you do, please pop a few pounds into our fundraising pot. Stand on the old car park and see if your vision matches our vision. 

We look forward to welcoming you to Firs Farm Community Hub in 2023.