The Gardens at Stephens House & Gardens cost money to run, and the Avenue House Estate Trust, which owns them, receives no Council or other funding to keep them open. The Trust usually funds the Gardens with income from lettings and events in the House, but since mid-March we have not been able to hold any events. We have had to furlough almost all our staff to protect their employment, and as a result we were unable either to maintain or open the Gardens during April or May. We were not happy with this, and have tried to find a way to re-open.
Happily, a team of volunteers has taken on maintaining the gardens until we can bring our gardeners back to work, for which we are immensely grateful. That’s an essential first step, but we still need to pay staff to open, supervise, and close the gardens. That staffing costs the Trust about £6,000 a month (£200 a day). Because the Trust currently has a severely reduced income, we are totally dependent on donations for this money, so we are asking for your help. Fortunately an anonymous donor has agreed to give us £1,250 a month towards the total, provided that we can raise the remaining £4,750 each month (including Gift Aid) to be able to keep the Gardens open. We were able to do this for June, but we need to raise the same amount to open in July, and indeed every month until we can get our events business running again. Our donor has said he will support us each month until the end of October, which gives us a very welcome head start.
As of today we have raised about £1,500 for July, which is just under a third of what we need. We must raise the rest quickly, so that we can keep the Gardens open for you.
Please help us by donating what you can: the amounts stack up quickly, especially with Gift Aid. For example, if 200 people give us £20 a month, we will be able to open the Gardens right through the summer. Our donation site is here. Thank you.