Garden trail event

Garden trail

Nicola Schulz, event organiser, Fletching CE Primary School, Fletching, East Sussex (85 pupils) told us about her PTA's 'outdoorsy' fundraiser:

'The Garden Trail has run for the past 23 years - last year we amassed 28 gardens, which all featured in a brochure given out with tickets on the day. Our team is made up of ten parents, who take on the bigger roles, such as organising the brochure, selling advertising and recruiting garden-owners. We also have a sign-up sheet for those who can help with cake baking, setting up the marquees, serving refreshments, and so on. Each year a member of staff asks villagers if they will support us by opening their garden to the public one Sunday in June. The majority of participants have been a part of the garden trail for many years. People also approach us offering to show their gardens - some run games for the children or sell refreshments, too.

The same brochure template is used each year, and one of our team works at a printing firm, so prints these for us. We sell advertising space to local businesses - this is all organised by two members of our team, though most are repeat bookings. Businesses include local pubs, garden centres and caterers, and we charge £10-15 per half page.
We start publicising the event in January, sending out a press release to the local newspaper. Two weeks before the event we put up flyers and posters in local shops, pubs and tourist attractions. We're supported by a local estate agent and use their promotional boards. Social media is also very useful.

We sell tickets at the school, charging £6 per adult, with free entry for children. The trail starts with our own School House Garden, where people can visit stalls and enjoy refreshments. We invite the National Trust, vintage ice-cream sellers and local craftspeople to hire a stall for £10-15 each. Our visitors can then continue following the trail - it is numbered but people tend to visit the gardens in no particular order. Most are within the village itself, and a local farmer gives up land for additional parking, so that visitors can get around by car if need be.

Feedback is always extremely positive and everyone pulls together, which is a great boost for the village. The event's success is down to the dedication and talents within the community - villagers, school staff, families and friends! On average, the event raises around £5,000.'

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