Last evening in a flurry of activity two law firms completed the signing of a 125 year lease for the Ventnor Botanic Garden (VBG) by a Community Interest Company.
John Curtis, Director of the CIC signing the lease with the IoW Council added, “This is one step – we have many, many more ahead of us. We finalised the transfer with minutes to spare before the busy season, so we are scrambling to finish our new entrance and putting the final touches on our pricing.” The garden will no longer receive a subsidy from the IoW Council and must be financially sustainable on its own.
“We have been working hard to secure the future of the garden and now we can return to developing its potential,” said Phil LeMay, Chairman of the Ventnor Botanic Garden Friends Society. “It is a new day and a new opportunity for the staff,” commented Chris Kidd, Curator.
Martyn Cutler, the chef at the VBG Café, believes, “Something exciting really is happening at Ventnor Botanic Garden. We just hosted our first evening garden tour and dinner with dishes made from IoW sourced ingredients and we are looking forward to moving our cream tea out into the Palm Garden.”
The VBG CIC has clearly set out its themes: botanical excellence, education, and sustainability. An Education Coordinator will join the staff in September to spearhead delivery of courses for all ages. The CIC has a steady stream of developments planned alongside established events such as Hopfest, summer theatre, and guest lectures. Chris Kidd enthused, “This week we had Susyn Andrews down from Kew establishing the scientific basis for our National Collections. Two weeks ago we had Dr. John David, the world expert on Puyas, in the garden marvelling at our flower spikes. It is exciting to be at VBG now.”