Category: Latest News

Vacancy: Business Development Manager

We are seeking a Business Development Manager

Start date: as soon as possible. 
Place of work: Castle Bromwich Historic Gardens, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham,B36 9BT
Reporting to: The General Manager
Hours per week: 37 hours per week with weekend and evening work as appropriate.

Salarycirca £30,000 p.a. 
Contract Length: 18 month contract with a three month probationary period.

Castle Bromwich Historic Gardens is a Grade II* rescued formal garden – a piece of baroque 18th century countryside on the edge of a 21st century city.  It is run by a Charitable Trust, a very small team of employed staff and over 100 volunteers. It opens to the public over 300 days per year, runs formal and informal outdoor learning programmes, a series of cultural and leisure events and supports a small café and shop.

Mindful of decreasing public revenues it is rapidly developing and trialling newer business models to support its continued survival and positive growth.

This is an exciting new role made possible by National Lottery Heritage Funding and requires a dynamic, proactive and reliable individual with a strategic outlook and practical track record of commercial development within smaller heritage and historic attractions.

The Business Development Manager will report to the General Manager and work with a very small staff team and willing volunteers.  Your role will be to develop existing and new commercial activities into sustainable, profitable income streams,which also enhance the Gardens’ brand.

You will work closely with the General Manager to ensure seamless integration of all commercial activities into the daily running of the Gardens. The activity and output of this role must be consistent with the overall strategy for the Gardens.

The role of the post is to:

  • Analyse the performance of current income generating activities and research / collect data that enables effective planning for improvement
  • Review the markets in which the Gardens operates and understand the demand for, and potential of current products/services
  • Research the markets for potential new products/services
  • Develop a plan for business development for approval by the Trustees
  • Test new income generating ideas
  • Implement plans to improve the performance of existing activities and introduce new ones
  • Train staff and volunteers to run the new and improved business activities
  • Oversee the implementation of a new EPOS system, including the training of staff and volunteers, to improve retail performance and management information

Initially, we expect the Business Development Manager to focus on:

  • Actively developing and leading the Gardens’programming including, activities to build visitor numbers and special, ticketed events
  • Introduction of the EPOS system
  • Developing the wedding and venue hire business

All business development initiatives will need to either be operated by existing staff and/or volunteers, or be of sufficient scale to warrant an increase in staffing. It is hoped that more volunteers can be recruited to support business development activities as they are put in place.

Experience and skills required:

  • Experience of researching, developing and launching new business activities, particularly in the heritage sector
  • Experience of improving the performance of existing business activities.
  • Experience of financial planning and control
  • Experience of negotiation
  • Ability to work collaboratively with others and experience of working in a small team
  • Understanding of the constraints and opportunities of commercial development within a not-for-profit environment
  • Experience of training/mentoring others

To apply

Please email your cv together with a covering letter outlining what you have to offer the role by 19th July 2019 send to admin@cbhgt.org.uk

For an informal chat about this role with the General Manager please phone the office or email her on Gen.manager@cbhgt.org.uk

Interviews will be held at the Gardens on Monday 29th July in the Gardens

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Land Art Festival days for schools and the public

Richard Shilling – acclaimed environmental Land Artist – will make a welcome return to our green and pleasant land in October. He and his partner Julia Brooklyn, who specialises in working with children, have agreed to run some special days for schools on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th October. Using natural materials and responding to the environment the class workshops will release individual and group creativity this Autumn. Half days or whole school length days are available to book. We welcome schools of any kind and groups of home educated children to book places. Suitable for all ages and abilities £5 per child (group prices by negotiation), ring 0121 749 4100 or email to book   Julia and Richard have agreed to stay over until Saturday and to continue the Festival feel of their artist residency on Saturday 27th October.  The Land Art Fesitval day will be a drop in anytime, join in and make art together type event. Let our garden inspire you to explore shapes and places together Normal Garden Entry fees apply (TBC)
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Vandals, mud and bugs

[update: We are overwhelmed by the positive support and reaction of the public to this act of vandalism in the Gardens. we are grateful to everyone for their good wishes and take heart in knwoing that what we are trying to do pleases so many people.   We are busy prparng for our big 40s event at present, as soon as that is over we will be planning to invite our wellwishesr to be part of the reconstruction of the spaces – it might take a little planning- but we are really looking forward to involving even mor epeople in the pleasure of our spaces…. Please keep a look out for news of how you can help out… .With heartfelt thanks from the volunteers , staff and Trustees] (PS Many people have asked how they might contribute financially – if this is something yu want and ware able to do, you can make a contriubtion of any size to our Just Giving page HERE.  All contributions for the next month will go directly on the re-build project… THANKS) …over the past few months thoughtless and destructive intruders have done some stupid things in the Gardens overnight – all of which has cost our charity and hard working volunteers both money and tears. Over the last 2 nights yet more destructive idiocy has happened. This time it directly affects our visitors too. Last night was even worse. Our little mud kitchen – much beloved by toddlers and parents was set alight. The ‘bug hotel’ built by volunteers and visitors last year to attract creepy crawlies was also burned. The fences protecting the small bridges by our spinney pond have now been trashed 4 times. Its not just stuff we have built , but nearby trees have been scorched too. Our charity and volunteers look after these unique Gardens on behalf of us all. What brains and hearts get pleasure out of spoiling things for everyone else? They are the few…we are the many…oh, and our hedgehog cameras are now trained on humans…  
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#wegrowtogether: a guide to companion planting

There’s a lot of wisdom out there amongst professional and amateur gardeners. Much folklore and science knowledge handed down from generation to generation.  In the post second world war  ‘nuke everything with a chemical’ era, a lot of native knowledge about what grew well with what, was lost and indeed strongly poo-poohed as ‘magic’ and superstition. Thankfully since then, largely due to the Organic Gardening lobby, a more rational approach and some good scientific studies have been instrumental in making the practice of ‘companion planting’ an accepted practice amongst mainstream gardeners. In our veg. and herb garden (the Batty Langley), we tend to mix some pre-18th century practices with some modern wisdom. We don’t use chemicals and plant calendula, nasturtiums, borage, comfrey etc plants amongst the vegetables to encourage beneficial insects. On the Schools plot we have also experimented with ‘Three Sisters’ planting. This is a techniques used primarily by native north american peoples and combines three main agricultural crops winter squash, maize (corn), and climbing beans. “The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to        climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other  plants use, and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, helping prevent the establishment of weeds. The squash leaves also act as a “living mulch”, creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Corn, beans, and squash contain complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and all eight essential amino acids, allowing most Native American tribes to thrive on a plant-based diet.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Sisters_(agriculture) There is quite a lot of information out there on the web but we thought we would share a guide made by one of our helpful commercial partners, FirstTunnels. Click here to be taken to their very comprehensive site https://www.firsttunnels.co.uk/page/Companion-Planting-Guide    
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Sunday Saunters…special weekend openings for winter wanderings

Sometimes all you want on Sunday afternoon at this time of year is a bit of fresh air and a stretching of the legs. No kitting up for a long walk in the hills, just a stroll around a green and peaceful place… This winter we are having a series of special weekend openings at the Gardens with this need in mind. There are five ‘Sunday Saunters’ between the end of January and the beginning of the season in April. Late Winter and early Spring is also just a fascinating time in our Gardens.. the snowdrops, aconites and hellebores begin to emerge. As the days get longer the birds (and the box hedges!) get more active. Soon our drifts of daffodils begin to shoot up. When we are lucky enough to have some sunshine the low raking light illuminates the walkways and creates intriguing silhouettes. We like to share these transient treasures, so Sunday opening offers a chance for our busy visitors to have a couple of hours of healthy pootering outdoors. Of course it’s still a bit parky, so we have opened our 18th century Greenhouse (sometimes known as the Orangery) for people to find shelter and get a cup of warming chocolate. On some of the days we will also strike up the firepit and indulge in toasted marshmallows and have some simple family crafts too.   Here are the dates. Do check back to the events calendar on this site or on Facebook just to make sure.
Sundays, 11am – 3pm £4 adults, £1 children. Free for Members
 28th January Snowdrops+ RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and family craft
 4th February Snowdrops
18th February
  4th March Daffs + Elite Tents Wedding Fair on site  (free entry)
18th March Good for Daffs
   
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The Strawberry Tree

  The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) is a easy tree or shrub to identify, having both flowers and fruit present at the same time. The strawberry (or I think more like lychee) like fruit take up to a year to ripen, so as last year’s fruits turn red, the flowers that will form next year’s fruit start to appear. The fruit is said to be edible, although not very tasty, which may be hinted at in it’s Latin name ‘unedo‘; coming from unum edo ‘I eat one’ – meaning after you have eaten one you wouldn’t want another one? Having not yet tried one I couldn’t say! Which is good news for the birds, leaving plenty of fruit for them to feast on during the colder months.

A member of the Ericaceae family of plants, most commonly known as heather, the flowers bear a strong resemblance to those of heathers, with bell-like downward facing flowers in small clusters.

You may have also seen this plant in a well known Morris & Co. design, used in fabrics and wallpapers where you can clearly see the red fruits and white flowers.

Have a wander down to the Lower Wilderness to have a closer look at these interesting plants..

       

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Volunteering at our Lantern Events 2017

We are looking for willing volunteers to be Stewards and servers of hot chocolate and marshmallows to visitors at our upcoming Lantern Festival! Here are some descriptions of the roles available (including other roles.) The Gardens are largely staffed by volunteers and we’re looking forward to putting on this great family oriented series of events this month. Volunteering will provide practical, rewarding experience of events management and organisation that will look excellent on a CV. Its a great way of giving something to a local community and a great group thing to be involved with. Travel expenses to and from the Gardens are also covered. Volunteers MUST be available on one or (preferably) more of: Sunday 26th November, Saturday 2nd December, Sunday 10th December, Saturday 16th December as well as a training day, likely the 24th of November but relatively flexible. There are some indoor roles, but you must also be comfortable working out of doors, working in the dark, directing visitors, and serving drinks. We will provide training , Hi Viz jackets, warming drinks and smiles :-)). If you are interested please click the google form here http://bit.ly/2AWUaHz   to fill in your details and preferences. Thank you! Please share with your friends   Volunteer Teams -Brief role description Hot chocolate servers and marshmallow toasters Served from the GreenHouse  3.30pm – 5.45pm  each public day. Sold on 3 days and given away (tokens) on the last day. Tasks ·         Serve and take money for hot chocolate (instant) ·         Supervise outdoor firepit (small) and toasting marshmallows ·         Keep a track of supplies, safety and cleanliness ·         Source and tidy marshmallow sticks (twigs and barbecue) ·         Help families toast their own mallows. ·         Clear up during and at end of session Stewards/site guides Meet and Greets and Safety ·         Wearing hi viz jackets to welcome and point people in the right direction as the light fades. ·         Stationed at specific points around the garden to ensure people don’t get lost, miss out. etc ·         Able to readjust basic parts of the display if necessary. Stewards/Gardens Ambassadors (for Stewards who like to talk) Helping visitors understand what we have to offer as a whole and helping us raise more money ·         Provide info verbally – for the day and other activities ·         Get informal feedback ·         Take emails ·         Talk about memberships, events, activities and volunteering ·         Distribute 2 for 1 and free chocolate tickets as needed   Lantern makers and craft helpers   (INDOORS 12.30 -4ish ) ·         Help families during the public days to make lanterns, decorate glass jar lanterns and to make twig stars and glitter cones. ·         Prep and tidy up Site preparation and care (Fridays before the events) Keeping it all looking pretty and safe -Various types of roles. ·         Checking lights/cables are safe ·         Replacing items and tidying after weather or public has displaced ·         Ensuring the ‘look’ of the installation is maintained (a bit of set dressing naus) ·         Replenishing supplies ·         Cleaning /drying seats etc ·         Making sure signs are in the right place. ·         Rubbish bins replaced etc etc ·         Clear paths, make safe etc ·         Looking after bits of garden – safe from public and safe for public ·         Maintain standard of presentation Car park duties Control and management of parking entry and exit, keeping everyone safe with special attention ‘cos of dark (Training in teams essential) Click the google form here http://bit.ly/2AWUaHz   to fill in your details and preferences.
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Kale

This week I planted out 40 Kale plants in the Batty Langley vegetable garden that have been quietly growing along in the greenhouse since September. We are trying three varieties, ‘Red Russian’, ‘Cavolo Nero’ and ‘Borecole – Green Curled Dwarf’.

Kale does well over the colder months, so will hopefully add some interest in the garden over the following darker months. As pigeons take a fancy to stripping the foliage off plants in the Brassica family, the precaution of placing net over the kale plants has been necessary to stop them becoming just tattered stems!

I have used two beds to grow the kale in, with 20 plants in each one, and to create a neat formal look the use of a tape measure was implemented to ensure even spacing.

The botanical name for kale is Brassica oleracea var. acephala, ‘Brassica’ being the genus consisting of cabbages, ‘oleracea’ meaning that the plant can be used as a vegetable and ‘acephala’ meaning ‘without a head’, i.e that the plant is loose leafed rather than with a head as many cultivated cabbages have. Kale has a long history as a food crop, being one of the most important green vegetables in Europe up until the end of the Middle Ages.

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