Funding for London farm expansion after land returned by Crossrail

A working farm in Tower Hamlets providing a wide range of educational programmes has received funding to manage its expansion back onto land that was temporarily occupied for Crossrail works.

City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, has awarded £45,600 to Stepney City Farm to help pay for staffing salaries to provide strategic leadership over the period of expansion.

The three-acre working farm is one of a network of projects across the capital engaging people from an inner-city environment by teaching them farming and rural crafts.

Alison Gowman, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, commented:

“It is very encouraging that this worthwhile project will be expanded when it regains land from Crossrail. As well as enabling it to grow more produce, its educational programmes will be able to engage more people with the farm and environmental projects.

“This farm provides an opportunity for Londoners to take a step away from urban city life, step into nature for a short while, and learn some interesting new skills.

“City Bridge Trust is committed to making London a fairer place to work and live in.”

Clare Hawkins, Chief Executive of Stepney City Farm, added:

“In late 2018, the Farm will regain an acre of land, occupied by Crossrail for the past seven years. This will be an exciting and busy juncture in the history of the Farm, as staff and volunteers work to expand the food growing programme, introduce new animals, ensure the preservation of significant archaeological features on the site, fundraise for a new Visitor Information Centre, and plan for our long-term sustainability.

This grant will secure a management post to steer us through this transition, ensuring the continuity and development of programming and activities, and the sustainable re-establishment of the expanded site.”

Stepney City Farm is a unique provider of environmental education and outdoor learning in Tower Hamlets. Admission is free and open to visitors six days a week. The Farm provides the opportunity for local communities to meet farm animals, try out crafts, including pottery and woodwork, access affordable local organic standard produce, and connect with nature and food growing. The site features a ‘farm to fork’ Café, a weekly Farmer’s market, a Rural Arts Centre, and 78 allotments allocated to local residents and community groups.

Over 4,000 school children take part in curriculum-linked activities on the Farm each year. Young people, including special educational needs and young offender groups, are involved in over 2,000 hours of supported volunteering. Over 500 people attend Open Volunteering green care and animal care sessions; and around 100 people are trained up as regular volunteers. The ‘Furry Tales’ programme provides therapeutic animal-assisted intervention for those living with dementia, both onsite and in local care facilities.

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates. It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

The Trust has awarded around 7,900 grants totalling over £380 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.


Media enquiries

Andrew Buckingham

Media Officer, City of London Corporation

002 7332 1452

Notes to editors

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. 

About City Bridge Trust:

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of Bridge House Estates, a Registered Charity, with its primary aim the maintenance and support of five Thames bridges: Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Southwark, Blackfriars, and London Millennium Footbridge.

City Bridge Trust was established in 1995 to make use of funds surplus to bridge requirements and provides grants totalling around £20m per year towards charitable activity benefitting Greater London. The City of London Corporation is the sole trustee of the Bridge House Estates.