Our Greenfingers Charity Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place on 21 January 2020 and a new Chairman was elected, plus a new-look board was introduced.
After four years in the role of Chairman, it was with great sadness that John Ashley officially retired at the beginning of the meeting. During his time at the charity, John has been instrumental in the further development of Greenfingers Charity. Highlights of his time as Chairman include the completion of ten gardens and four more in the planning; the launch of the ‘Million Moments’ campaign (which far exceeded expectations having reached its £1million fundraising total in under three years!); the launch of the Chairman’s Fundraising dinner at the stunning RAF Club which has raised over £100,000 in three years; the appointment of Patrons Ann-Marie Powell and Adam Frost; the development of the Greenfingers Charity brand, and the amazing award-winning Greenfingers garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2019.
Taking up the mantle from John is the newly-elected Chairman, Sue Allen. Sue is a well-known face within the garden retail sector, having established Millbrook Garden Centres in 1979 with her late husband, Dick. Now run by her extended family, as well as sitting on the Board of Trustees for Greenfingers Charity, Sue also splits her time sitting on the Board of Trustees for the Garden Centre Association (GCA) and she is also Chairman of the GCA Trust.
Talking about her new role Sue said: “I am incredibly proud to be taking on this new role, though a little daunted as I have some very big shoes to fill! I have been involved with Greenfingers Charity for over 20 years and am excited to be guiding the charity over the next four. From the development of fundraising opportunities, to building the Greenfingers brand nationwide, and encouraging our ambassadors and supporters to engage with us even more – the potential for growth is significant. I can’t wait to get started!”
In addition to the role of Chairman, the AGM also saw three trustees step down at the end of their tenure. Leaving their post were Scotsdale’s Caroline Owen; Dennis Espley previously MD of Squire’s Garden Centres and now Non-Executive Chair of the Tillington Buying Group; and CEO of Somerton Group, Carol Paris. The Board also voted in two new trustees with both Tammy Woodhouse, MD of Millbrook Garden Centres, and Richard Capewell, being warmly welcomed by the Greenfingers Charity board.
Linda Petrons, Director of Fundraising & Communications, said: “On behalf of all of us at Greenfingers we’d like to thank John for everything he has done for the charity during his time as Chairman. He has been a wonderful part of our development over the last four years and will be missed. We are of course excited to have Sue on board and look forward to seeing how we can move forward under her guidance.
“I’d also like to thank those trustees that have come to the end of their term. Their input has been invaluable, and I hope they will continue to support Greenfingers in the future. Finally, a huge welcome to our newest trustees!”
During the AGM the charity also reflected on another superb year of FUNdraising, and also the ways money is being spent throughout children’s hospices in the UK. Exciting 2020 plans were also revealed. Highlights includes:
· Almost £550,000 raised through FUNdraising activites
· Four new gardens completed at Grace House (Sunderland), Little Harbour (St Austell), Richard House (London), and Claire House (Wirral).
· Five new gardens are set to be completed in 2020 at Haven House (Essex), Rainbow House (Loughborough), The Nook (Norfolk), St Oswald’s (Newcastle) and Ty Hafan (Vale of Glamorgan).
· The amazing Kew Green Hotel’s support of Greenfingers as its chosen charity will continue in 2020, to date staff in hotels across the country has raised over £380k
· The team at STIHL raised over £10,000 in 2019 through a range of FUNdraising initiatives
· New charity partnership with Clarins UK, who has selected Greenfingers as its new charity partner
· Garden Re-Leaf Day 2020 – new teams signing up for the Sponsored Walk and Cycle Challenge, plus retailers thinking of new and exciting ways to get involved.
· The ‘Monte Carlo or Bust’ Rally race which will see teams travel through six countries in a £500 ‘banger’ as part of a FUNdraising adventure.
· The New Summer Ball at Barton Grange will be making its debut this June.
· Floral Thursday at Glee will return, though this year we hope to see many others ‘going floral’ for Greenfingers on September 17th.
· The calendar of events keep coming with the GIMA Golf Day, and the continuation of the Chairman’s Fundraising dinner at the RAF Club in London which this year takes place on 3rd November.
Linda added: “We are incredibly excited about what 2020 has in store for us, and the hospices we work with. It’s set to be another busy year, and I look forward to seeing the many different ways that people undertake to raise money for the charity. On behalf of everyone at Greenfingers Charity and the families that enjoy our gardens – thank you!”