Inverness Botanic Gardens and Nursery (IBGN) located in the heart of Bught Park is one of the many High Life Highland facilities closed to public in line with government guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The location is managed and operated by the Highland charity and welcomes around 100,000 visitors every year to see the tropical house and cactus house featuring plants from all around the world as well as the friendly koi carp that are always a hit with visiting children.
The location also features the well-known GROW project, which offers adults with learning support needs the opportunity to get hands on in the gardens.
Earlier in the year the charity made a business decision to take the coffee shop at the location in-house from the incumbent private operator.
Bringing the full site under the charity would mean the city visitor attraction would financially contribute to the growth and development of the location and the wider services offered by High Life Highland.
Steve Walsh, Chief Executive said:
“Now more than ever, the income generated across the whole of Inverness Botanic Gardens and Nursery is going to be essential as part of the recovery plan for the charity.”
The coffee shop will come under the management and operation of HLH early in July.
Mr Walsh explained:
“This is a particularly difficult and challenging time for everyone during the unprecedented times in which we find ourselves.
“I would therefore want to reassure existing coffee shop staff that everyone will be offered the opportunity to transfer employment to HLH in line with employment legislation.
“The coffee shop at IBGN will be incorporated into the wider catering portfolio across other HLH sites in the city including, Inverness Museum and Art Gallery; Hilton Community Centre; Inverness Leisure and Canal Park as well as the further afield outlet at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore.”
Concluding, the charity chief said:
“We obviously do not know when the current government restrictions will be relaxed or removed.
“In the meantime, we will continue to do what we can, in line with social distancing guidelines to prepare the location, so when the time comes that we can fully open our doors, the whole IBGN team will be ready to welcome the many, many customers back to this city centre gem.”
Since lockdown, the charity has retained a core team of dedicated gardeners working hard behind the scenes not only maintaining the gardens, nursery, tropical house and GROW project to their usual high standards, but also trying to help projects within our local communities.
In addition, a small number of bedding plants have been donated to the residents at L’Arche Inverness and community hub schools, based in Drakies and Raigmore Primary.