Nottinghamshire farm attraction says 2020 has been 'hard going' but community 'have saved us'
2020 has been tough, but staff at a Nottinghamshire farm park hope 2021 will bring new, exciting things for the communities who helped keep them open.
Like many other animal attractions in the country, White Post Farm have had a difficult year.
Forced to close due to lockdown, they were left in the difficult position of being unable to furlough many of their essential staff and were losing thousands of pounds per day, without any help from the government.
Having to make the difficult decision to ask for help from the public or risk closure, staff at the farm say the local communities saved them from an uncertain future.
Marketing manager Anthony Moore, affectionately known as ‘Farmer Ant’ explains: “It’s been hard going, but our local communities really stepped up.
"They raised over £20,000 on our GoFundMe page and donated more than £12,000 in animal sponsorships, which is incredible.
"Even our furloughed staff raised more than £4,000 - they really have saved us from closing down.”
Whilst closed, staff began utilising social media to stay in contact with their followers, ensuring fans watched live as animals were born, and creating interactive content which gave people a real taste of life on the farm.
One such live video is now known as ‘pig gate’ where Farmer Ant donned a pig onesie and spent the morning bedding down with the farm’s grunting residents.
The video was viewed by thousands and raised more than £150, which staff were thrilled with.
"We were surprised with how popular it was and we’ll definitely do more like this" continued Farmer Ant.
"One of our videos was viewed more than 150,000 times, which is incredible!
"We’ve managed to catch lots of live births too which is amazing, our viewers always love getting to experience that.”
Preparations also went into preparing the farm for reopening, with one-way systems and new signage, and with a drastic reduction on capacity to ensure social-distancing could be maintained.
Farmer Ant continued: “We put so much work into reopening and it was great to hear feedback that visitors felt safe.
"We had an amazing summer, despite the restrictions, and we were really thrilled with how it all went.”
Despite restrictions, the farm have continued with successful events throughout the year, with Halloween and Christmas events selling out and getting rave reviews.
2021 is still an uncertain time for the farm, but they are hoping they can bring in some new attractions, which had originally been planned for 2020.
They were awarded their coveted zoo licence in early 2020, but lockdown meant they had to put their plans on hold.
Ant explains: “We had worked so hard to get our zoo licence, so we are hoping that 2021 will finally see us be able to welcome new animals to the farm.
"2020 has re-shaped the business, but some of the changes will go forward into next year as they've worked so well.
"We have a number of plans in place for every eventuality, and we’re hoping that we can hold more events next year and give our supporters some new exciting species to see.
"Whatever happens, we hope we can continue with the fantastic community feel we have felt this year – that’s been the biggest success of 2020.”