Reopen Garden Centres employing 'special needs' adults

Comments already sent to Aberdeenshire Council, and both Scottish and UK Governments re the unfair playing field re garden centres versus retail stores selling plants etc. To avoid longer term mental health issues and social care funding shortfalls, it is imperative that these types of garden centres are allowed to open. Ref.:- Enforced Closure of Foxlane Garden Centre We wish to register a formal complaint against the decision to close Foxlane due to the policy of the sale of ‘non-essential’ products. Although this is following government guidelines, we fail to understand the rationale of permitting supermarkets (Sainsburys, Asda, Tesco, Aldi), superstores (B&Q, B&M) and local garden centres (Ben Reids) to continue to sell or deliver garden plants and supplies since this should also be classed as ‘non-essential’. If there is a degree of logic to the policy and your decision, then in theory the appropriate sections of all of the above businesses should also be closed off (similar to alcoholic sales outwith permitted licencing hours). As you are probably aware, Foxlane provides therapeutic employment for numerous adults with ‘special needs’ from both the City and Shire and our son has worked there for the past 22 years. Disruption of the working environment of these adults is significantly worse from a care perspective compared to the general public and the potential future collapse of this business would have a significantly detrimental effect on the adults and the social care service / funding. In addition to the sale of garden flower plants, Foxlane also sells a range of vegetable plants which could be classed as ‘essential’.

Why the contribution is important

Elimination of mental health stress in adults with special needs, future funding problems in social care provision and added stress on elderly carers.

by Docmilton on May 09, 2020 at 01:24PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.6
Based on: 3 votes


  • Posted by Emmab85 May 09, 2020 at 16:24

    I believe all garden centres should be allowed to open. They inadvertently support those with mental health issues by enabling them to get outside, get fresh air, and garden. Gardening has been proven to aid those with depression. The lock down has made many people's depression worse with nobody to turn to for support, myself included. My garden is my haven, without it or this wonderful weather I wouldn't still be here.
  • Posted by StuartMcL May 09, 2020 at 17:12

    I believe garden centres should be one of the first places to be allowed to re-open as they would be able to support a healthy pastime. It is easy to see how they would be able to operate in the same way as supermarkets
  • Posted by Scotswede May 09, 2020 at 19:45

    There are fundamental problems with opening garden centres, or at least opening them as normal+social distancing. Firstly, open only garden centres fully and there will be a rush on them (just like the drive thru Costa) - this will mean crowds, cars queuing and overwhelmed staff. Potentially dangerous. Most garden centres are open outdoors for plants, but the checkouts/shop/other areas are in small indoor areas. How do you reasonably manage numbers and queues here. Many garden centres are more than just plants - kids play areas/animals etc - open only garden centres and families will head to for a day out, not just for essential gardening items Many garden centres are in rural areas, there will inevitably be queues of cars in the first few days of opening - potentially v. dangerous Finally, garden centres are not staffed like supermarkets. Imagine the queues if there are just one or two checkouts, particularly if those queues are in small shop spaces. Gardening is important for people, having things to do in the garden can help people comply with the stay at home message. But blanket opening is not a sensible move - a reasonable, safe and measurable alternative is to allow limited opening on an appointment only and click and collect basis. Also - gardening isn't more essential or unique than other hobby stores or small businesses. Better to open a range of businesses on a limited appointment only basis in the first instance - allows more people to meet their needs, manages traffic, crowds and demand, allows test trading under social distancing rules and protects staff by ensuring they are not overwhelmed by demand.
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