Say yes for the Bedfords Park Walled Garden to stay open for the community and people in need in the borough

This petition made change with 593 supporters!

The historical Walled Garden, Bedfords Park, is closing because the council rejected the business proposal to keep it running for the community and those in need. Sign here to tell the Council they have made the wrong decision.

Note that it's Clear Village Charitable Trust that is being forced to close the garden as there is no finance available to keep it open - this is why the business proposal was sent to the council showing a way forward. The council needed to give the OK in accordance with the terms of the Lease.

In more detail:

The Big Lottery Grant ended March 2018 and staff of Clear Village Charitable Trust have been working tirelessly to find a solution that ensures the financial stability of the Walled Garden after this grant.

In January a business proposal was sent to the council (Parks), endorsed and supported by organisations on the garden's project board (Havering Mind, Tapestry, Richmond Fellowship, HaBcos, Over 50's Forum and other services within the Council). This proposal outlined the need to set up a new organisation and how we could move towards sustainability whilst continuing the focus on health & wellbeing for the beneficiary groups.

The intention was to set up a CIO and develop a small garden centre, a natural development of what takes place in the garden already. Have a cafe using the produce from the garden (explicitly stating that there was no intention of competing with the EWT cafe). There would be craft stalls, farmers markets, workshops, children's activities and music making the Walled Garden a destination and bringing new people in to the park at weekends. This income would help Clear Village to move away from the reliance on grants and sustain the beneficiaries' programmes that would take place during the weekdays.

The proposal didn't ask the council for a penny

The council rejected the proposal and sent an email to staff at Clear Village just before Easter
 " We had hoped that the future management of the walled garden would not depend on income generation. Therefore the proposal of a garden centre and café is not something we would support. "

There is no other financial model available. Therefore Clear Village as the leaseholder, has no option but to close the Walled Garden Project and relinquish the lease.

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