One of Yorkshire’s most loved walled gardens has announced that without essential funding, the gardens will not open again.
Helmsley Walled Garden, which features in this year’s forthcoming cinematic release ‘The Secret Garden’ starring Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Dixie Egerickx, is a charity reliant on entry fees, grants and donations. Like many other charitable venues, the garden’s finances have taken a huge blow during the Coronavirus outbreak as it has not been able to open to the public. In addition, the garden has been unable to provide vital therapeutic support to vulnerable adults who volunteer at the garden.
Launching ‘Our Secret Garden’, a campaign to raise funds for Helmsley Walled Garden, organisers say if the fundraising target of at least £50,000 isn’t met before it is due to reopen in March 2021 the garden gates may not open again. Our Secret Garden offers anyone the opportunity to adopt a square metre of the historic walled garden for a small fee, 100% of which goes towards the charity.
June Tainsh, garden manager explains: “Local lady Alison Ticehurst established the garden in 1994 from five acres of wasteland by the ruins of Helmsley Castle. It is heart-breaking to think that our stunning garden, made so by a small staff and essential volunteers, is blooming behind locked gates and will remain that way if we don’t get vital funds soon. The garden provides solace and a refuge for a great many of our 50 strong volunteer workforce – some of our more vulnerable volunteers are supported in a range of ways at the garden and the provision of this unique facility and the way we run it is at risk along with the garden’s future.”
In 2018 Helmsley Walled Garden was chosen as a location for Heyday Film’s production of The Secret Garden and played host to actors such as Colin Firth and Julie Walters. The garden had arranged a number of events to celebrate its part in cinematic history this summer, to coincide with the August 2020 cinematic release of the film.
Rosie Alison from Heyday Films which produced The Secret Garden said ‘We fell in love with Helmsley Walled Garden when we visited it in our location search: not only is it an exquisite garden, but the work done there to encourage the therapeutic benefit of gardening is so in tune with The Secret Garden.”
June adds, “We have launched Our Secret Garden to raise the funds so we can continue the amazing work of our dedicated team and volunteers for generations to come. Just like the film, Helmsely Walled Garden shouldn’t be hidden away - we want to share this beautiful space with everyone again.
"More people are spending time in their gardens, learning more about gardening and discovering the therapeutic value of gardening and gardens, which is what Helmsley Garden is all about.”
Our Secret Garden gives people the opportunity to contribute and help look after a small segment of Helmsley Walled Garden, just as they are currently caring for their own. Supporters can adopt a square meter of the garden, all areas available are listed on helmsleywalledgarden.org.uk. Plots are £25 each and every donor will receive an e-certificate with their chosen patch of the garden.
To donate, please visit the garden website, helmsleywalledgarden.org.uk or go straight to the Local Giving page here.