Changes to the Gardens Trust's Training and Networking Programme

From the Historic Landscape Project Officer:

I am writing with an update on strategic changes we at the Gardens Trust’s Historic Landscape Project are making to our workplan to reflect the Covid-19 pandemic.

Clearly, we are unable to host our usual physical events such as members’ Meet Ups or training events.

On the other hand, we are keen to support County Gardens Trusts and their volunteers to stay active and engaged. We know it has taken you many years of effort to nurture your volunteer groups into dedicated and productive teams, and want to support you to make sure that this enthusiasm does not dwindle away whilst everyone is isolated at home.


Through the spring and summer we will be emailing you with regular re-releases of our training packages - all appropriate to life under Covid-19 – refreshed, updated and with new additions that we hope you will find useful. We hope very much that these will help you keep your volunteers engaged, enthusiastic and purposeful. Our schedule for the release of these packages is attached to help you plan, or if you just can’t wait, versions of many of these materials are already on our Resource Hub at

We are also conscious of missing you all very much, and expect that you are all missing the social lives that come with volunteering too! Our first new HLP handout, which will be sent out next week, will look at remote communications and how to use them – hopefully this will make it easier to stay in touch with your volunteers, and we also hope to soon trial a small-scale Meet Up using one of these online tools. Get in touch if you would like to join in!

Unforgettable Gardens theme 2020-22

As you will know, from 2020-22 the Gardens Trust is working to a theme of ‘Unforgettable Gardens’ and is encouraging others to get involved too. Our planned ‘Collaborative Brainstorm’ on 16th April had a brilliant range of people signed up from CGTs, individuals, sites and organisations from the National Trust to Historic England – we were disappointed to have to cancel it.

However, the good news is that the Unforgettable Gardens theme remains as pertinent in Covid-19 as ever. It’s message was always ‘i) you love historic parks and gardens, ii) but they are under threat in certain ways, iii) but there are things that can be done to protect them, iv) and you can get involved.’ It has always been planned as a public awareness campaign, and thanks to social media and the internet, that can continue without physical events or activities.

So, for 2020 we will focus on the first parts of the message – that we all love historic parks and gardens, and that they are under threat. Covid-19 actually helps this message, as people are now realising how much they miss visiting lovely gardens and how much they need and value public parks. Not many of the wider public realise how much of a threat Covid-19 is to the present and future management of these sites, but this is where Unforgettable Gardens has an important role to play. We can use 2020 to raise awareness via social media, newsletters, and articles, and then by 2021-22, the public will then be primed for the second part of the message, that there are things that can be done to help, and that they could/should get involved, and hopefully we can all run the physical events and activities that we had been planning.

I hope this gives you food for thought, but we will additionally soon be writing to everyone on the Unforgettable Gardens mailing list with more detail. Do let us know please if you would like to be added to this list, via sallybate [at]

Combined effort on a public awareness social media campaign

Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Gardens Trust has secured a sum of money to carry out a social media public awareness campaign, fully-aligned with Unforgettable Gardens and particularly in response to the challenges of Covid-19.

Between now and September 2020, we will be using social media and other remote communications to raise awareness amongst new audiences of the value of historic open space, its heritage value, the threats facing it, particularly due to Covid-19, and the kind of things that they can do in future to help, most specifically of course volunteering with groups such as CGTs.

We intend to carry out this campaign working closely with County Gardens Trusts and other voluntary or conservation groups, and intend to work hard to make sure that its messages reach new people from a broad range of backgrounds. We will be in touch in due course with further details, and do please follow us on Twitter at @thegardenstrust or find us on Facebook.

I hope you will be pleased by these initiatives and would welcome any questions.

Before I go, the Gardens Trust is a charity working harder than ever in these challenging times to help share and protect historic parks and gardens, and support and train volunteers to get involved. We are always reliant on membership income to deliver this work, and expect this to be the case even more as grant-giving bodies are hit by the economic impact of Covid-19. Please consider joining us and supporting our work -

With best wishes,


Dr Tamsin McMillan
Historic Landscape Project Officer

Registered charity No.1060697
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President: The Countess of Harewood
Registered Office: UHY Calvert Smith,
Heritage House, Murton Way,
Osbaldwick, York, YO19 5UW

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