Garden Begins Gradual Reopening

16 June 2020

Dear Members,

We hope you are all keeping well. It has been a very strange and testing time.

Now that the Government guidelines are easing restrictions to a certain degree, we are thinking about how best we can open the garden to members, whilst keeping people safe. We will continue to follow the latest Government and NHS Guidelines to ensure that our COVID 19 – safeguards are up to date, including hygiene and social distancing measures, so that we can protect both members and staff.

We will be asking everyone to follow the same list of safety rules which will be on display while at the garden, these have been trialled and will be subject to change as necessary. You will also notice some changes to the garden layout including new handwashing facilities. A short video showing some of these changes can be seen online by clicking here.


Our Three-Phase Plan for Reopening

Initially we will be opening for members only not the wider public. The plan is to introduce the changes gradually so that we can learn about how to keep everyone safe and provide people with the support they need. For the time being the cabin will be closed so you will need to bring your own refreshments. To limit the risks to members and to staff it is important that people don’t come to the garden if they feel unwell or have been in recent contact with someone who has Coronavirus. For the same reason, for the time being we will not be able to accommodate any members who have to travel to the garden by public transport.

We are planning to reopen in three phases:

  • Phase one will be members who can work independently
  • Phase two will be those who might need a little bit more support.
  • Phase three will be those needing more support.

To uphold safety measures and allow people to use the garden safely whilst maintaining social distancing, there will need to be a rota system. We will run 2 sessions a day – morning and afternoon – 10am to 12pm & 1pm to 3pm. Each Session will be limited to a maximum of 4 members, plus staff support. This means that members will need to book ahead to attend on set days and either a morning or afternoon instead of turning up when they choose.


How to Request a Slot

If you would like to get back to the garden, please email us at tom.abbeyphysic@gmail.com, or call 01795 539915 or 07851 150434 and leave a message, including:

  • your name,
  • preferred day (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday) and time (morning or afternoon) and a second preference,
  • what activity you would like to take part in (gardening, socialising, or even just enjoying a peaceful corner of the garden to yourself for a couple of hours!)

We cannot promise to accommodate everyone in the first phase, but we can promise we will do our best to help everyone who would like to come back to the garden to do so as soon as possible.


Outdoor Cooking From July

The Faversham Community Kitchen will resume in July with sessions running between 10am-12pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. If you would like to join these outdoor cooking sessions please let us know, again these will be small groups so booking will be necessary. We will be providing takeaway containers to allow cooks to take their food home with them.


Outdoor Men’s Shed From July

Starting in July, the Men’s Shed will be running sessions on Thursday mornings between 10am-12pm. The shed itself is not open at the moment, so these will be outdoor sessions, socialising or supporting the garden with DIY and maintenance jobs. Please contact us if you would like to put your name down for a Thursday morning Men’s Shed session.


Opening to the public

At the present time we are not planning to open to the public. It is really important that we make sure the garden is not just a safe place to be, but also a relaxing and comfortable space. Having undertaken a comprehensive risk assessment we know that this is easiest to achieve when we know who is coming to the garden and limit the number of people in the garden at any one time. Hopefully as the pandemic subsides we can return to the position we were in before lockdown.

We will be monitoring the reopening process closely, as well as following national guidelines, and we will move to the next phase of reopening as soon as it is appropriate to do so, and we will keep posting updates to our website and Facebook page, as well as making contact through email.


If you have any questions or comments, please do get in touch at tom.abbeyphysic@gmail.com

or call 01795 539915 or 07851 150434


We would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding in allowing us the time to make sure we get this right; and we’re looking forward to seeing you all again soon.

With very best wishes,

- The Abbey Physic Community Garden Team.