COVID-19 - A Message from our CEO

23 March 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening [23rd March] we have taken the decision to close our Garden Centre to the public for the moment.

This follows the closure of our Garden Centre Café last week and other measures we have taken to protect our customers and staff. Azure Charitable Enterprises, whole-heartedly supports the Government’s initiatives and measures to control the spread of this terrible disease. We believe these steps are necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and the general public.

This closure will be in effect for at least 24 hours on Tuesday 24th March while we, like many others, seek clarification from the UK Government about how we can operate our business safely and within the Government guidelines.

During this period of closure you can continue to financially support the charity by placing orders on-line or donating through our website. All proceeds continue to support the real costs of providing our care services and education programmes across the North East.

On-line and home-delivery service
We are continuing to make deliveries on all orders placed up to and including the 23rd of March. Thereafter, we will fulfil customer orders as we are able. We will be reviewing the operation of our on-line and home-delivery service on a daily basis and therefore will need to confirm orders and delivery.

We trust you will understand that we may suspend these services in the event that:

  • Our staff, particularly our delivery staff, are needed to distribute foodstuffs or support the delivery of other community services.
  • Government advice determines that the benefits of providing customers with garden products through our online and home-delivery service (to support social-distancing, self-isolation, home-schooling and mental health) are outweighed by the public health benefits of suspending these services*

*Please be assured that we will be led, at all times, by Government advice.

Important Information
Azure Charitable Enterprises (and its Garden Centre) plays an active part in our community supporting those with a disability or who are otherwise disadvantaged.

At the present time, we are compelled to protect the personal health and safety of many of our staff who ordinarily provide care services and who themselves have a specific medical illness that means that it is no longer safe for them to attend work. It won’t surprise you to know that in many cases we’ve had to insist that they put themselves first or that their colleagues have selflessly assured them that they will continue to care for the people they have been looking after for many years.

I would like you to know that we have been overwhelmed by the number of Garden Centre staff that have volunteered to be trained to support the delivery of our care services (and provide additional relief for their colleagues) as we seek to respond to this emergency.

Our education programmes will now continue to be delivered remotely and with the support of our Garden Centre staff who have set a number of horticultural challenges and projects for our students to undertake with their families in the coming weeks and months ahead. We hope to share these with you too, shortly.

Thank you for your support and understanding through these difficult and uncertain times.

Peter Wilson
Chief Executive
Azure Charitable Enterprises