Our Impact: Success in a year of crisis …
2020 has been an extraordinary and challenging year. For the National Garden Scheme the news that the country was to go into lockdown at the end of March – and again in November – because of the coronavirus pandemic, was devastating. Overnight our garden gates closed with absolutely no certainty of when they might open again.
The impact reached into every part of the charity’s activities, not least the donations to our beneficiary charities. Faced with our gardens closed for an indefinite period and in the knowledge that these openings produce 85% of our total income, we had to make a painful decision to reduce donations in order to survive. In April we donated a total of £1.3 million – smaller donations were made in full, a number of our core beneficiaries received 50% and our two largest beneficiaries, Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie, received no funds.
Despite this unprecedented situation – and at a time when many of our beneficiaries were expected to maintain services on the front line of the pandemic – their response was heroic, and their support for our fundraising efforts continued unabated. For this loyal support we are hugely grateful.
Thanks to the combination of tickets sales outside of lockdown, our Virtual Garden Visits and Great British Garden Party campaigns, along with the generosity of our garden owners, many of whom gave donations in lieu of what they would have raised, along with proceeds from plant sales, we headed to the end of the year in a far healthier position than we had envisioned in April. So much so that we were able to make additional donations with many now paid in full and all our core beneficiaries receiving 85% of the intended total – the balance being held over for payment in 2021. Overall, we donated £2.88 million in 2020.
We know that 2021 will bring further challenges. But we go into it reassured by the commitment of our volunteers, the support of our garden owners who have registered in large numbers to open, and confident in the strength of our beneficiary partnerships.
Ending the year on such a positive note is a matter of great pride for everyone at the National Garden Scheme and our Impact Report 2020 reflects the extraordinary contributions we have been able to make even in a year of crisis.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year and we hope you enjoy reading our Impact Report which sets out all that our supporters, volunteers and garden owners have helped us achieve.