It was good to see so many people at Geilston’s Apple Day on the 5th of October. The day was a great success with over 500 visitors enjoying the Apple themed activities. Our aim in holding events is to attract new visitors to the garden, provide something new for existing NTS members and to demonstrate Geilston’s potential for growth. The icing on the cake was to see so many happy children enjoying themselves.
We wanted to let you know the outcomes of our meeting with the NTS on the 24th of September. We felt that perhaps we had turned a corner in our negotiations although there are still some difficult issues to be resolved. There was a more open and frank discussion about the demands made on the NTS in caring for all of its properties. We were pleased to hear that our work in promoting Geilston had been appreciated and we were thanked for all that we had done.
It was agreed that the Economic Assessment demonstrated that a way could be found to reduce the deficit but that key to this was the restoration of the house. When the board meets in November they will be discussing how funding for this might be achieved. While this is explored we hope that Geilston will remain open. We have yet to get confirmation of this but believe that a budget has been set aside for Geilston for 2020.
It was thought that a new board chairman and trustees may provide new opportunities for Geilston. We have said that we need a longer term commitment to ongoing investment from the Trust based on rescinding the boards decision made in 2016 to close the property.
In the short term the NTS have agreed the following;
- They will clarify their understanding of the role of a community trust for Geilston and what kind of working partnership would exist with the NTS. While the Friends see a community trust as having a limited role at Geilston, we have agreed to consider the NTS proposal once it has been clarified.
- There will be a small investment to improve the visitor entrance to the garden with some kind of covered area for refreshments.
- There will be an ongoing commitment to promote the garden including a feature on Geilston in one of the quarterly members magazine.
We have invited Simon Skinner (Chief Executive) and/or Richard Williams (West Area Manager) to the FoG – AGM on Tuesday the 28th of January 2020. We feel that this would demonstrate the Trust’s ongoing commitment to Geilston and hopefully bring the last two and a half years discussions to a good conclusion allowing us all to move forward to a positive future for Geilston.
On a different note you will be pleased to know that the FoG 2020 calendars are now on sale, costing £5 each. Details of where you can buy them or how to order by post are on our website homepage along with a preview of all the winning photos. https://friendsofgeilston.org/
(Chairperson Friends of Geilston)