Garden launches education programme

By a County Press reporter

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Garden launches education programme

Ventnor Botanic Garden.

VENTNOR Botanic Garden has launched an education programme it hopes will blossom.

Grow with Us is grounded in the National Curriculum and includes activities, courses and workshops designed to build skills, encourage confidence and make learning "engaging and inspirational."

The new programme has been designed to cater for children of all ages and abilities and encourages schools to make use of the garden as an outdoor classroom.

Ventnor Botanic Garden Friends’ Society chairman Chris Kershaw said: "It is part of our constitution to promote education in the botanic garden and with the help of the Community Interest Company and our trusty volunteers, led by Joy Munro, we have created this excellent new opportunity.

"As well as inspiring the next generation to get in touch with nature, we hope this programme will remind local residents what an excellent resource and asset the garden is to the Island and that it is here to stay."

In the past the friends’ society has been able to support local children, contributing to the cost of transporting them from their schools to the garden.

It aims to continue that support, making it easier for schools to visit more often throughout the academic year.

The programme will be launched on Thursday, next week, when teachers from Isle of Wight schools have been invited to a welcome session to learn more about the programme and tour the garden.

More information is at or 01983 855397, option three, to book a place.


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Displaying the last 10 of 13 comments - Show All Comments

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by John Curtis

17th February 2014, at 13:06:05

Pleasure garden or not this garden needs money to survive, do you have any great ideas for making it work?

Regarding the comment about parking I am amazed that this is still going on, we are almost two years into this project and nobody has ever had to pay for parking to visit the garden since the day the CIC took control from the IOW Council. You are either deluded or you have never actually been if you think otherwise.

I have had it up to my ears with comments within the local media saying I should be doing this and that, I did not see anybody else out to save the garden from complete disaster. We welcome any comments that are constructive and if we can get more of the local community involved then that is exactly what we seek to achieve.

This education programme is one of the many steps forward we are striving to make in order to give both locals and visitors alike a diverse programme of events that fill all niches. This botanic garden will stand strong again.

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by Mike Vallender

13th February 2014, at 07:18:48

Funding the garden seems to the reason that most people cite as the problems for the Botanic Gardens and that is incorrect.

The Garden is built on the site of the old hospital, and I believe was originally designed as a pleasure garden, pleasure being meant in the old way, and was later changed, to raise its profile towards potential customers to a Botanic Garden. That was fine in its heyday, but then changed to become a sub tropical venue. Funding is sourced from various places, but at its heart it was a community place for the Isle of Wight Community. It can still pay, make a profit etc, but needs to be based on a number of strategies and targets that meets, encourages participation and support of many different groups that make up the public needs.

Once realisation occurs that profit, though important, is not the only strategy the garden needs to meet survival it can, and will start to thrive once more. My only fear is the timescale to achieve this.

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by Keven Ball

12th February 2014, at 17:12:33

Sadly, the council do not fund the garden any more and as said someone has to foot the bill for the upkeep. The prices aren't too bad at all. Have any of you been to London for example or high pricing?

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by Mike Vallender

12th February 2014, at 13:05:28

It is promising to see that the Botanic Garden is attempting to do something, at least, that will encourage young people to learn about gardening / horticulture etc, but this really is a small step in the larger overview of things.

Young people will not be learning about the environment, native landscapes, plants or habitats, but based on what was there previously, the sub flora and plants of places like Australia, New Zealand and so on.

I would certainly prefer to see a more all rounded educational experience that allows people to learn land based skills on a wider and more open curriculum, for it is about helping people to learn about flora, and to a point fauna as they develop their education and skills for their life, both at home and in the wider community.

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by Brian Judd

12th February 2014, at 09:29:51

I think the fatal miscalculation of the management is that they did not know what they were taking on and put money into things like a new entrance and cafe and which were never going to bring in income.They also seem to fundamentally misunderstand what a CIC is.It is a COMMUNITY interest company which means it is non profit making.The clue is in the word 'community' which I take to include schools and Island people, none of whom visit any longer.What the management also fails to understand, with their talk of obtaining grants etc is that, since the charging system has been introduced, there is no public or community benefit to the people, the basis of which, is every substantial grant application.I'm afraid, they've shot themselves in the foot.

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by James McAdder

12th February 2014, at 09:12:19

It doesn't really matter, Keven, if the entrance fee to the Botanical Gardens is reasonable, which it probably is for a botanic garden.

The problem, and the miscalculation the current management have made, is that most people who visited the gardens when it was funded by the Council did NOT visit it as a botanic garden. They visited it as a pleasant place to spend a summer afternoon.

I am guessing that when the council stopped funding the gardens, the management took the cost of upkeep and divided that by the (then) footfall to come up with an entrance fee.

The trouble is they didn't appreciate how few of that footfall were visiting the place as a botanic garden. The footfall fell dramatically and now they are in trouble.

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by Brian Judd

12th February 2014, at 08:55:11

Very sad to hear that the money and post which were promised for education have not been forthcoming from the CIC.So, we now have a situation, similar to the libraries where paid staff are being replaced by volunteers.I sincerely hope whoever is putting out the misspelled and gramatically incorrect posters and newsletters is not involved-our children deserve better and, indeed were promised better at a number of public meetings.Does the Council intend to re examine the terms of the lease to the CIC, I wonder?

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by Roger Grey

11th February 2014, at 19:54:59

Robin - you mentioned "Entrance Fees, Parking, Petrol". That's not correct.
You used to pay for parking, not for entry. Parking is free now, you pay for entry. It costs more because you no longer contribute to running costs through your Council Tax, whether you go or not.
As for petrol, you pay that wherever you go...

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by Keven Ball

11th February 2014, at 19:36:44

I found how much the gardens visits cost:

I feel it isn't too bad and there are offers on all year round. I guess it is for the cost of the upkeep of the gardens, it has to be paid for by someone!

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by pete jenkins

11th February 2014, at 17:23:30

Make sure all those teachers and children pay the admission fees next week - it will probably be the most number of people that will have visited VBG recently. As others have said many times, we also can't afford to go these days.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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