Gardens Trust Chairman Peter Hughes says: The first week of June is Volunteers’ Week, a time to recognise and appreciate the vital contribution that volunteers make to the work of charities across the length and breadth of the country. This last year has been exceptionally challenging, and the part played by volunteers all the more important.
The Gardens Trust (GT) and the network of County Gardens Trusts (CGTs) would be nothing without our volunteers. They are our life blood. The GT itself has a small staff and is largely run by its volunteers; its trustees, members of committees and working groups, and, of especial importance during the pandemic, the team of volunteers who have assisted in the comprehensive programme of webinars. These have made a much needed financial contribution to the GT, and helped us to keep in touch with members isolating in their homes, and to reach out to new audiences and supporters in the UK and further afield.
There are 37 CGTs associated with the GT. Like us, they could not exist without the support and hard work of their volunteers. Their local knowledge is invaluable in assisting the GT to discharge its statutory role as a consultee for all planning applications concerning registered parks and gardens. They make an important contribution to research and recording, and to raising public awareness of our rich heritage of gardens and the need to protect them.
CGT’s across the country are supporting the GT in its current theme of ‘Unforgettable Gardens’ through a wide range of events and activities. These include research projects, events to highlight the importance of particular gardens in their area, arranging talks and contributing to the GT series of webinars on the Unforgettable Gardens theme.
None of this would happen without our volunteers. Volunteers Week provides a fitting opportunity to recognise their huge contribution. The GT is also seeking nominations for its annual Gilly Drummond Volunteer of the Year Award. The award celebrates the efforts of our volunteers by their contribution to the work of their CGT or the GT itself. It is awarded to a volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution over the last year and thereby added to the enjoyment, learning and conservation of gardens, parks, and designed landscapes.
A sincere thanks to all our volunteers, especially for their vital contribution in these difficult times. We look forward to working together over the next year in what we all hope may be more normal times.
Peter Hughes, QC, Chairman
Download the 2021 Volunteer of the Year Award Nomination form