A heartfelt message from our CEO, James Campbell

What a strange and unprecedented environment we have found ourselves in. At the time of writing at the start of June 2020 we remain predominantly in lockdown, with restrictions on seeing family and friends and we are operating our charity remotely. Thankfully organic gardens, balconies and allotments up and down the country are resilient, all providing much pleasure and escape.

I have been in awe of how our team has adapted to these ever-changing circumstances. The vast majority of our work has continued remotely, with member advice and support unaffected. Video conferencing is now second-nature and I have enjoyed ‘meeting’ the families of my colleagues as they lend a hand or appear in the background during a call.

We did, however, have to furlough a number of roles, and ‘topped up’ the government’s 80% salary contribution. This was very important to us to ensure the well-being of our staff who are vital to the work we complete on your behalf.

You will read in the magazine about how building our new demonstration organic garden has been frustratingly halted – we have just managed to keep on top of weeding and watering through a very dry May. It has been so disappointing for us all.

Within the Heritage Seed Library, the team took many seeds home to start off there and whilst some can be planted out on-site, there will be inevitable disruption. As with everything, the full impact remains to be seen.

More positively, the ‘grow your own’ and ‘organic’ movements have seen a surge in interest - we have welcomed new members to the charity and are supporting beginner growers with their organic endeavours.

Members have asked me if there is any way they can help the charity during this time, for which I am incredibly grateful and heartened.

I understand that many of us will be struggling and some are choosing to support causes on the front line, but if you do feel able to make a donation to the charity, of any amount, this will make a great difference to us.

Thank you so much for your continued support, and thank you to all of you who have written, called or emailed. Your words and shared experience have made such a difference to me and my marvellous team.

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