Cafe workers save Longford Park’s pets corner

As reported by Amy Glendinning on the April 21st 2014 (View the Article).

A pets’ corner threatened with closure due to council cuts is to be saved - and run as an urban farm.

Members of the Uprising Bakery co-operative, who run Longford Park’s cafe, are to take over the space currently home to over 100 birds and rabbits.

They plan to raise goats, chickens and geese there - as well as growing fruit and veg.

The group, who took over the cafe from Trafford Council last year, are due to sign a contract with the council in a few weeks’ time and should get the keys by the end of April.

And after appealing for volunteers to help look after the animals last week, over 50 people have already signed up - with training due to start in May.

Members of Uprising Bakery, who bake and sell artisan breads, stepped in when the council announced it could no longer afford to keep it running.

Under the plans, the hundred odd budgerigars and parrots currently living there will be re-homed, with the aviary torn down.

The space will then be used to keep goats plus ducks and chickens, whose eggs will be on sale.

Dozens of rabbits, chickens and parrots could be made homeless as part of town hall cuts.

Fruit and vegetables including gourmet cooking ingredients will be grown there along with proposals for gardening classes and pick-your-own fruit beds.

Janey Riley, a member of the nine-strong Uprising Bakery co-operative, said: “Because we’re based in the park the general public are really important to us, it’s about the experience people have when they are here.

“When we heard the pets’ corner was to close we didn’t want to see it go and I think people who use the park looked to us to do something.

“Two of our members are already growing on land outside Manchester and another is a horticulturalist, so they are passionate about urban growing and we can use those skills.

“I don’t think pets’ corner is particularly educational for older children so we want to run something more interactive with feeding times for the animals where they can get involved.”

A Trafford Council spokeswoman confirmed they were in negotiations with a community group but would not say who, adding in a statement: “We are currently in meaningful dicussions with community groups to develop a way forward for facilities at Longford Park.”