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Gateway Gardens Trust

The HHA worked closely with The Gateway Gardens Trust, which linked community groups with historic parks and gardens. Gateway connected a diverse range of community groups, schoolchildren and lifelong learners with the social and environmental heritage of historic parks and gardens. Exciting visit programmes were developed, working with groups over several gardens of different periods and styles, therefore ensuring visits built meaningful and sustainable relationships.

The“Opening the Gates” programme, funded by the HLF, worked with minority ethnic groups, people with disabilities, older people, inner-city children and those suffering from rural poverty, women’s groups, people with mental health problems, carers, youth groups, children attending special schools and lifelong learners. In Wales HHA gardens took part in The Gateway Gardens Trust ‘Bittersweet’ project, funded by the HLF, which has developed the work begun in 2007 to mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

During 2008-09  the Trust organised three regional seminars at Arley Hall and Gardens in Cheshire, Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire and Gatton Park in Surrey for owners and managers interested in extending access to historic parks and gardens. The seminars addressed how to reach out to new audiences, ideas for garden visits, trails and events, links with schools and the National Curriculum and provided advice on how to get started with sessions with both enablers and beneficiaries. Over one hundred delegates attended the seminars from many heritage organisations, with over a third of those being HHA Members, including those not regularly open.

It was with great regret that economic pressures forced The Gateway’s Trustees to take the decision that the charity would cease operating with effect from the end of December 2009. In spite of the continuing demand for its innovative outreach services, the current financial climate has meant that there is not sufficient external funding to support its work.

The HHA, National Trust, Royal Horticultural Society and Association of Gardens Trust  worked together during 2010-11 with a grant from English Heritage to carry on the Gateway's work. and carried out six further seminars to demonstrate the benefits of linking people and historic gardens. Click here.
Refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iran, Congo, Pakistan and Liberia living in Smethwick, west of Birmingham at Spetchley Park, Worcestershire: one of the partners in the Gateway Gardens Trust’s  Opening the Gates project. (copyright the Gateway Gardens Trust)