Thank you for all your kind messages expressing your support – in varying ways – for the Gardens.
We are all anxious to know when people will be able to see and explore the Gardens again. As you know there has been a recent change in government approach to dealing with the pandemic. The Gardens continues to take advice, and keep in contact with the authorities as well as our colleagues across the Gardens and Heritage world.
Here is our position and thoughts at present
Protecting the personal health of our staff, volunteers and visitors still comes first.
- We are nevertheless making plans for how we might open in some kind of phased manner.
- We need to consider how we can balance good social distancing within the Gardens with the desire of individuals and families to be able to stretch their legs, feel relaxed and generally have a good time.
- Things may change over time and different approaches may be needed at different times.
- We know it is unlikely that we will be able to offer exactly the same programme of events and activities as we have done for some time … but we are enjoying the creative thinking we need to prepare for doing lots of good things, differently.
- Staff and volunteer capacity cannot and will not return quickly to what it was in March – so things inevitably will move more slowly.
Many organisations like ours – gardens, open spaces, heritage and cultural sites – big and small, are in similar positions and too many already, have had to close permanently.
Although, as an independent charitable business, we have recently been becoming much more self-reliant than previously, without the current financial support from emergency government programmes (and other places), we would probably not survive.
So, not only do we want (dreadfully) to welcome people back to this great space, but we need to earn our income too.
The current Government rules state that although open spaces and public parks are open we, as a ‘gated’ site which normally provides tickets for entry, are not currently in the ‘permitted’ band.
When we are able to admit people
- Likely to be initially limited to Members only. This will enable us to keep a contactless entry system in place.
- When it is possible, we will relax this rule to admit non-members, probably on a pre-booked basis. So we can manage the number of people entering and leaving the Gardens at any one time.
- Plans for properly socially distanced, pre-booked events, workshops and activities are still in discussion. Although we ‘are gutted’ that some of our favourite events this year can’t happen, we are excited by some of the inventive ways we are finding to keep interesting things happening.
We know we can help people have fun, enjoy the Gardens, stay healthy and help us keep the Gardens afloat. … Please bear with us.