200 Shortlist | Kentish Town City Farm
Kentish Town City Farm
Shortlist – Managing Turnaround
Who they are
Kentish Town City Farm is a working farm and open access green space occupying five acres at the centre of six housing estates in Central London.
What they’ve achieved
In 2013 Kentish Town City Farm found itself in dire circumstances – the organisation was heavily reliant on one funder, who cut funding by 40%.
At the same time more than half the board, including the chair, stood down, leaving the charity without leadership. Staff considered closing down, but the remaining board members decided to work together to try and save the City Farm.
Powered by plenty of hard work this new approach was a big success. The charity reported a £29,000 surplus in 2015/16 while self-generated income grew from £40,000 to £75,000.
Kentish Town City Farm made an impressive turnaround within 18 months. It has successfully reversed its financial position and diversified its income streams, almost doubling earned income. It has written a five year business plan, strengthened relationships with key partners and developed new programmes.
The turnaround demonstrates how an effective board can support charities through even an apparently hopeless situation. By harnessing the strengths of those who remained with the charity, and taking full advantage of free support provided by other organisations, it made an impressive turnaround in a relatively short space of time.
The board demonstrated an “all in it together” culture by providing sound leadership and strategic vision, while also taking on active, hands-on roles when needed. The board stressed the importance of recognising the difference between the two different roles, which the judges felt was a great learning point.