COVID-19 has had a significant impact on popular Dalscone Farm Fun, but thanks to some fresh ideas, and a helping hand from SOSE, the future is looking bright.
Dalscone is a family adventure farm located in Dumfries, Scotland. It has a large indoor soft play area and an outdoor farm park, filled with fun activities for all the family including trampolines, pedal karts, boats and crazy golf. The farm also has an extensive range of animals; from llamas, donkeys and goats to wallabies and meerkats.
When the pandemic started, the farm was immediately faced with a dramatic reduction in visitors (500-800 a day in high season) – to no visitors at all. It was a concerning time, with so many animals needing to be fed and no income coming in. Adding to this worry, an additional 100 kid goats and 50 lambs were born at the farm during this period which were due to give birth in the Easter School Holidays for Dalscone’s Lambing live event.
On top of this, there were ongoing overheads at the farm, but with no income, the financial strain was pressing. This is when the farm team came up with a creative new idea – to open a pop-up farm shop. This meant they were able to provide for their community through a click and collect and home delivery service. Thanks to the continued support from the local community, the team have decided to keep it as a permanent fixture on the farm.
Despite the new pop-up shops popularity, and the team’s best efforts, overheads were not sustainable. The Farm Park is a seasonal business and will close for the whole winter period, so with their main source of income (a busy soft play) still forced to close, there will be no income at all from that side of the business. This is when the farm approached South of Scotland Enterprise and SOSE were able to provide a vital grant to help them through the Covid-19 crisis.
Ben Best, Park Manager said:
“Dalscone is a family run business in Dumfries and the grant will make a huge difference to us. It will help secure jobs and avoid us making further redundancies. As the Soft Play Area remains closed for the foreseeable future and with no income coming in, the grant will help us carry out the necessary maintenance to prepare for the when the farm park re-opens for the new season in March 2021.”
“The future for Dalscone now looks a bit more secure than it did before, and for that, we are grateful for all those who provided us with the critical help and advice at such an uncertain time.
Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise said:
“We are delighted we have been able to make this award to Dalscone Farm and help them retain current jobs, and support future local job creation.
“We understand this has been a hugely challenging time for many small and medium-sized businesses across the South of Scotland, and our immediate focus is on supporting businesses, communities, and individuals to recover from the wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic.
“Tourism is essential to our economy, and I’d like to thank Dalscone Farm for playing an important role for this industry, in Dumfries. We will continue to support Dalscone, and other businesses in the South to reopen safely and welcome visitors back to the region once again.”