The latest Congelow Trust accounts are now available on the Charities Commission website, here.
These show that the Trust received £275,000 in November 2013, for the freehold of the Gardens (as against a reported valuation of £27,397 in good condition?) and that the sale apparently included appropriate covenants not to develop the land and to maintain the Trust’s objectives towards the Gardens.
Those objectives are of course “to advance the education of the general public in the principles of organic farming, growing and gardening.” It is however difficult to see how that has been achieved by a (no longer certified Organic) garden that (as far as we are aware) remains closed to the general public.
The Congelow Trust (as of the date of these latest accounts) is sitting on £350,000 cash, 63 acres of farmland (farmed “sustainably”, not organically) and a house in Paddock Wood, valued at £175,000; all of which are held in order “to advance the education of the general public in the principles of organic farming, growing and gardening.” Would it be out of order to ask how they are actively doing that?
The accounts speak of considering giving bursaries to agricultural students; the last payment of such having been in 2007. There is also mention of the Trust considering grants to individuals or institutions sharing the Trust’s objectives. There does not however seem to be any mention of this actually happening.
As ‘outsiders’ we can only look-on at what has, over the past six years been an absolute disaster as far as the Gardens and all those who have supported them is concerned. Missed and lost opportunities; and very many more questions than answers. Most of which still exist.