Merton Giving grant keeps the horses where they belong at Deen City Farm.
Deen City Farm holds a special place in many south west Londoner’s hearts, offering a peaceful haven where they can get close to nature. Local children learn about the rural environment; where their food comes from, and get the chance to meet a whole range of animals. The farm also has a popular riding school for all abilities, making the joy of horse riding accessible and affordable.
With the COVID-19 crisis, the farm faced an uncertain future regarding the stabling of its horses. It applied to Merton Giving for essential basic costs to keep its 12 horses on the farm. “If we had to move the horses, we wouldn’t be able to control their diet, care or exercise, and some of the older ones would never be able to resume schoolwork,” explains Nick Golson, Deen City Farm’s operations manager.
“By looking after them ourselves, it means we can offer riding lessons, pony rides, Junior Volunteering and Own a Pony holiday clubs as soon as we are allowed.” Private lessons have now been able to resume at Deen City Farm for experienced riders, following the relaxation of government restrictions."
The riding school has many loyal and dedicated fans - during lockdown, Deen City Farm set up a virtual Pony Club to keep a group of eight to 14-year-olds engaged.
Says Nick: “We were delighted to receive a grant from the Merton Giving Coronavirus Fund. It came at a time when we were struggling to see how we could keep the farm and riding school operating without visitors and without being able to offer riding lessons. Our animals and our horses in particular are a high fixed cost. The response of the local community has been amazingly generous and has enabled us to look after the animals and keep them here so we can reopen from July.”