Following receipt of a couple of queries regarding our recent publishing of the information about the forthcoming Gardens’ Open Day; we felt it appropriate to clarify FOYOG’s purpose and position with regard to current developments.
The FOYOG website launched in its current format, in October 2011, following the most recent closure of the ‘Yalding Gardens’. The website had existed in various formats since January 2008; but given the three consecutive business failures, the establishment of a ‘Friends’ organisation was intended to set the foundations for a new and fresh look at the Gardens’ problems with a view to finding a way of achieving a sound and sustainable future for them. (Draft aims and objectives: October 2011)
During December 2011 we started to sound-out potential members of a ‘steering-group’ for FOYOG; though the initial meeting did not take-place until January 2011. However, it proved impossible for some of those members to attend that first meeting and although it still took-place, a number of concerned (non-FOYOG) Yalding village residents and the current leaseholder attended and took-on various responsibilities connected with contacting the Gardens’ trustees, reviewing the existing business plan, researching the legal background and establishing a group of volunteer gardeners – with the emphasis being that this was being done on behalf of the ‘village’, not FOYOG.
We of course attended and were involved with the pre and post-publicity for the initial ‘Volunteers’ Briefing Day’ in March 2012. However, it subsequently became clear that the organiser of the volunteer effort wished to continue to operate them as a ‘village’ effort, rather than within FOYOG (notwithstanding the fact that a good many of those volunteers thought they were part of FOYOG – and may still do so). He subsequently resigned from FOYOG and requested that we had no further correspondence with him. (We have however continued to forward-on all volunteer interest registrations we have received)
Since that time; we have received updates on the volunteers efforts; but have heard nothing more regarding the other enquiries that were being made by the original ad-hoc village group; nor have we received responses to correspondence with the current leaseholders.
In these circumstances we have been effectively ‘neutralised’; we of course fully support the current volunteer effort (although we wonder at the longer-term objectives) but have no direct involvement with it – and we can do nothing about the long-term ourselves, as we know nothing of what may already be going-on ‘politically’ and have no wish to ‘rock the boat’ if there really is something positive happening.
Accordingly, we had chosen ‘silent support’ – but having now discovered that our website address is being used on the printed publicity for the Open Day – ostensibly implying that we are involved with organising it – we feel that we have to ‘put the record straight’ regarding our position and the fact that we have no direct connection with this event, other than the fact we have recently publicised it, on behalf of the volunteer coordinator.
We very much regret the fact that we are in this position and that we have to issue such a statement. We have, from the start, sought to bring people and organisations together, in a way that would secure a future for the Gardens – and although we had from the start experienced and latterly expected a certain level of resistance from some areas; we certainly had not envisaged the situation that currently exists.