BUSINESS planning has got me thinking about what constitutes the core activities of a charity. Like everyone else we need to look at our bottom line and ensure that we have the funds to meet our needs. But equally important we need to ensure that we are also meeting the needs of our stakeholders.
The main stakeholders at Helmsley Walled Garden are our volunteers and our visitors. Everything we do should enhance their experience of their restorative garden and promote the benefits of therapeutic horticulture.
This has an impact on our activities. We run courses and workshops on creative themes such as photography, painting and drawing. We also have exhibitions of work by local artists, also promoting local crafts through the stock in our shop as well as open-air theatre in the summer.
But regardless of how much more ‘pulling power’ in terms of income generation, we would never stage big ‘noisy’ events here. So no rock concerts or celebrity weddings. Perhaps these are unlikely events anyway but something I have realised is that the organisation and set up of big events impacts on the calm and therapeutic nature of the garden. The bustle created works against what we want to achieve.
Perhaps all this should be blazingly obvious, but even the fundamentals of organisational ethos can get blurred when there are money worries.