Friends of Ventnor Botanic Garden comment on expenditure

Vice Chairman of the Friends of Ventnor Botanic Garden explains how money from the Society is spent at the Garden.

Philip Le May and Wendy Jenkins at VBG

Readers may have seen our report yesterday about expenditure of the council repairing grant by the Ventnor Botanic Garden (VBG) Community Interest Company (CIC).

Today the Vice Chairman (and past Chairman) of the VBG Friends’ Society, Philip Le May (pictured above with Wendy Jenkins) wrote to all members and Friends clarifying expenditure of the Friends’ reserves.

Must abide by Constitution
He explained the Friends of VBG, which has been a registered charity for 20 years, has to adhere to a Constitution and each year accounts are submitted to the Charity Commission.

These are also provided to all members and have to be accepted at the AGM.

Spending focuses on plants and education
He goes on to say,

“Since the beginning, spending has been primarily on plants and more recently public education as well. This has not changed from the time that the CIC came into being except that more has been spent whilst we improve the botanical experience of the visitors.

“Here are some of the things that we have recently funded in conjunction with funds from the CIC:

  • The new Mediterranean Plaza around the pond
  • The extension to the Olive Grove (soon to be productive with Olives)
  • A grant towards the AONB funding used by the Education Officer last year
  • A grant to Island schools to subsidise transport for education at VBG”

Philip finishes by clarifying that,

“The CIC has not requested any funds for anything other than botanical or education supplies or services.”

Image: Community Spaces under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 25th February, 2014 9:32pm



Filed under: Isle of Wight News, Top story, Ventnor

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17 Comments on "Friends of Ventnor Botanic Garden comment on expenditure"

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A sad supporter

I wonder if Phil can hand on heart say that all of the money from the friends has been handed out exactly above board, to the constitution and with 100% backing from the treasurer since the CIC took over.

I have heard otherwise.

I wait with baited breath.

I’m a bit shocked Phil.I don’t mean to disparage any of the great work the Friends do-I’ve worked with them for so many years and consider so many of them as personal friends also. But, really, they’ve decided not to fulfill a grant commitment that they had been assured, by the treasurer, could run over until the weather got better- until the new year. Poor old St… Read more »
I’ve been contacted by the Chairman of the Friends, Chris Kershaw and they may well have made a mistake over this matter due to a change in key commitee members, so apologies if I’ve judged too soon on a previous, possibly misunderstood commitment they made to a grant body for outoor education for St Francis School. We can all make mistakes and the Friends is a very… Read more »

As I suggested last night,and fortunately, was confirmed this morning by Chris Kershaw, the Chairman, there was an error in the understanding of the grant situation.
I can now happily confirm that the monies allocated to St Francis School will be given to the school to continue with their outdoor education programme which has enhanced their learning so positively.
Thank you Friends.


That’s good news Irene. Thanks for keeping us in the picture.

I’m sad to have to report that the Friends have done a complete U turn and have decided not to provide the match funding for the AONB grant they secured for St Francis School. This, despite their constituional commitment to ‘botanical education’ , both at The Garden and in the wider environment. A brief history as follows. I ,with the help of the Friends obtained a grant… Read more »
A sad supporter
This is a very sad thing to read Irene. I had heard about the meeting, what makes it even more sad is that the friends ‘extraordinary meetings’ seem to stem from interventions of the CIC. When the CIC is effectively running the friends any money will always be ploughed back into the loss making company. This is where the wider community once again lose out because of… Read more »

Oh dear!

The trumpeted launch of VBG’s NEW EDUCATION PROGRAMME launched on 20 FEBRUARY 2014 seems to have had a short shelf-life!

Irene, I hope you noted that Cllr Phil Jordan gave us his contact details here a short while ago, as he was concerned at the level of anxieties being raised here about the CIC, including re. legalities. He was considering looking into the matter himself. I suggest you contact him. You could ‘Search’ OTW for ‘Ventnor Botanic Garden’ (no ‘s’ on the end of course), & I… Read more »
Thanks Tryme, as the Friends are a charity,I don’t think Phil Jordan would be interested in this.I suppose the Charity Commission would and the AONB grant awarding body. I just can’t understand it, it’s such a relatively small amount of money and their whole constitution is about education. This would have allowed the programme to continue and brought such positive publicity. Furthermore,I can only be led by… Read more »
Ronald Regan

Just been told that the cic does not fund any of the projects in there only the friends money does. And in future projects the cic is going to charge the friends the gardeners labour while they work on the project ???. Also there are no schools in the garden or buildings for education it’s a ghost town

To be fair,I don’t think it was ever the Friends’ intention to run an education programme.Their hand has been forced. This was a commitment that Curtis made at a number of public meetings and to the council in order to take on the Garden. Unfortunately, he decided he didn’t want to spend any money on this-I wonder if the council know? Like so many vital functions of… Read more »
A sad supporter
So very sad. What was such a vibrant place for old and young alike has been destroyed by lack of vision, an unwillingness to communicate with the public and misguided spending. Will it ever be the vibrant place it once was again I wonder. I do hope so, the friends can pull this Phoenix from its ashes but it needs leadership and people willing to go out… Read more »

Prince Charles (mentioned on the other current VBG thread) may be especially minded to send expert advice and support to the CIC because Simon Goodenough’s wife has been (may still be) his Head Gardener. I have heard that Charles has has done a similar thing with other projects.

Over the years, the Friends must be congratulated on having done a magnificent job with their financial and physical support of VBG. However, I would be grateful if somebody could rationalise the two following statements for me: (from the Friends website) The Extension of the Mediterranean Garden….to create a Mediterranean courtyard where visitors could relax, enjoy a glass of wine and a meal. “The CIC approached the… Read more »
And is it considered ‘botanical’ to rip out a load of trees on the top of the cliff opposite the Botanic Garden causing subsidence and slip? I believe the Tree Officer had to prevent further damage.The grand plan which the Friends are funding is to replace them with palm trees to create a ‘drive through’ botanic garden…difficult to see now where people are expected to drive from,… Read more »
A sad supporter

What happened to all the trees in front of the house? Was anything of botanical merit removed when this area was decimated?