Fancy's Farm saved from closure

Fancy's Farm saved from closure

Published by Maria Greenwood at 8:41am 5th March 2020.

A family farm on Portland which was close to closing its has been offered a lifeline.

When Fancy's Farm first opened in 2011 Susan and Jon Illsey wanted it to be accessible to everyone and decided not to charge an entrance fee. 

The farm is a community interest company, which is run by the couple but owned by the community.

The wet weather this winter has hit the farm hard, as it relies solely on the generosity of local people who visit.

co-operative colleagues at Fancy's Farm

Susan Illsey said:

"From the start we wanted the farm to be a place everyone can bring their children to experience the outdoors and the wildlife.

"When people visit, they have the option to make a donation and that can be anything from 30p to £20.

"But the weather has been so bad this year that is has really impacted the number of visitors and the number of donations plus the extra cost of animal bedding as we have had to change it every single day.

"It has been the hardest winter we have ever had."

fancy's farm

Now a donation of £3,500 has been made from four local branches of The Co-operative Food.

Around £1,800 has also be donated from money raised by members of Weymouth Golf Club.

Susan said:

"We were really thinking about having to close so the donation from Southern Co-op has dug us out of a big hole.

"We can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

"The sun is out and Easter is just a few weeks away."

goathill fancy's farm

Kim Daley is a manager at the Southern Co-op store in Weymouth she said:

"We heard about the possible closure of the farm so we spoke to our nearby colleagues to see what we could do. 

"The farm has an educational facility where they talk about the animals and let the children stroke and feed the animals, plus they have work experience days which supports people with learning difficulties.

"We're so happy to have been of help to them and hope we can get together for a community day at some point in the future."

Fancy's farm is home to a flock of rare breed Portland sheep, wallabies, goats, ducks, chickens, geese, pigs, donkeys and many more animals.