Volunteers dropped from Barn Cafe role

June 26 2019

VOLUNTEERS working at the cafe at Grimsbury Farm have been told they will no longer be needed after a shake-up in how the eaterie is run.

South Gloucestershire Council, which owns the farm, is refurbishing the cafe with the Brandon Trust, which will then take over the running of the cafe.
The move is part of a project to enable the trust to provide more supported work placements for people with learning difficulties.
An official statement was posted on the Friends of Grimsbury Farm's Facebook page. It said: “As from Monday 24th June 2019, the volunteers of The Friends of Grimsbury Farm will no longer be responsible for the management of the Barn Cafe at Grimsbury Farm along with Friday and weekend staffing. Although this was not our decision we have no alternative but to accept it and so our last day will be Sunday 23rd June.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers, some of whom have become good friends, who have helped us to turn a derelict, dirty old building into the thriving and successful business that the cafe is today.”
The changes are part of the council's plans to improve the farm while keeping it a freely accessible public open space.
Recent work includes new car parking and pathways, animal shelters, petting areas and washing facilities. The council says these additions and the cafe changes will help make the farm better for visitors and animals alike.
The Barn Cafe was created by the Friends from a derelict barn in 2011. Using their own time and donations from the public, they developed and improved the cafe. Initially open at just weekends, the cafe was expanded by the Friends, who, in partnership with the Brandon Trust, have opened it for drinks and light bites seven days a week.
The Friends will continue in their role supporting the farm, focusing on events and fundraising.
A council spokesman said: “Grimsbury Farm is a crucial and unique open space providing countryside in our urban areas the city; a place to learn, relax, and get close to nature in the heart of Kingswood. We are really excited about working with the Brandon Trust more closely, but I also want to thank the Friends for all the efforts they have put in to supporting Grimsbury Farm so far. Their dedication and commitment over the years created and developed the Barn Cafe into a thriving business that we can all build on for the future.”
Jo Cullum, of Brandon Trust,  said: “We are delighted to take on Barn Cafe full-time. We have been operating the café four days a week for the past eight years, providing vocational training and supported employment for 13 people with learning disabilities – and now opening full-time will allow us to provide two more job opportunities.”
The Barn Cafe is expected to reopen in early/mid July with new look and different menu.