The National Garden Scheme gives visitors access to over 3500 exceptional private gardens in England and Wales and raises impressive amounts of money for nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cake.
In Essex over 100 gardens open and, as in other counties throughout England and Wales, they are managed by volunteer teams.
We were approached by Debbie Thomson, Publicity and Social Media Organiser of the Essex branch of the scheme to create a website that would provide local news and promote charity events throughout the county, as well as encouraging garden owners within the region to participate.
The site had to reflect the national branding of the charity yet be independently run and edited by the local volunteer team. And since the Scheme has charitable status, cost-effectiveness was a prime consideration.
We recommended the use of one of our customisable website templates, thus reducing design and construction costs. Graphic elements and colour palettes were chosen to reflect the identity of the national scheme.
Since a key feature of the site was to be a blog, it needed to be regularly updatable by the client, so a WordPress format was specified that allowed them full independent control of the site.
For optimum user-friendliness, the site was to be hosted by Simpsons Creative, with all WP updates taken care of. To simplify this still further, the client was given full training, enabling them to upload their own content.
The site has proved very successful in stimulating local interest and participation in the scheme and has won the approval of the National Garden Scheme as a countrywide organisation. Additionally, the client was approached by BBC Radio Essex for interviews, and a number of garden owners around the county have made enquiries about opening their gardens to the scheme.
“As a volunteer for the National Garden Scheme charity in Essex, I was looking for a cost-effective blog where I would be able to post local news and fund-raising information with links to our social media accounts. Simpsons had a brilliant selection of WordPress templates that could be customised with the charity branding and enable me to have all the pages I needed.
The process was simple, the blog was built quickly and to my brief. Alex at Simpsons, who worked on the project, made a few suggestions too which were spot on. A training session and some user guides were all I needed to get going and upload my own content.
After just a few months of posting blogs, it became apparent that the content is reaching the right audience. Additionally, I have been approached by BBC Radio Essex for interviews and a number of garden owners around the county have made enquiries about opening their gardens for the Scheme.
It’s a really easy site to manage and just keeps getting better as new posts and photographs are added.”
National Garden Scheme Essex