Covid-19 thwarts NGS garden visits

Covid-19 thwarts NGS garden visits

Plans by the National Garden Scheme to launch the 2020 garden visiting season with 585 new gardens have been put on hold

Plans by the National Garden Scheme to launch the 2020 garden visiting season with 585 new gardens and a record number of planned openings have been put on hold this weekend.

Chief Executive George Plumptre announced on Sunday 22nd March that in the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, the charity’s Trustees had decided that all National Garden Scheme gardens would be closed to the public until further notice:

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“In light of the current crisis and based on government advice for safeguarding the public our Trustees have taken the difficult decision to ask all our garden owners not to open their gardens in aid of the National Garden Scheme until further notice. Managing social distancing and preventing people from travelling unacceptable distances has become a priority for the public good.”

This is the first time in the charity’s 93-year history that all the gardens have been closed. Even during the Second World War and the swine flu pandemic of 2009-2010 many gardens remained open.

Despite the current crisis National Garden Scheme Trustees are still able to commit in excess of £1 million to its beneficiary charities and to 44 community garden projects throughout England and Wales this year.

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In 2020, new Community Gardens Award funding of £97,210 is being distributed to 44 community gardening projects across England and Wales in memory of the garden writer Elspeth Thompson, who died in 2010. From community-based training initiatives and social prescribing garden projects in GP surgeries to mental health programmes and gardens to foster community cohesion, the selection provides solace and support to people across the country. (See below for full list of awards). £165,000 of the total donation will also go to granting bursaries to support gardeners in a variety of training or apprentice schemes, or who find themselves in hard times.

With a significant fall in income inevitable people can continue to support the National Garden Scheme and its beneficiaries by making a donation in lieu of the gardens they may have visited at: https://www.justgiving.com/ngs/Donate

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Steve Ott
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