A South West family-run garden centre group has secured funding from Barclays to support it through the current crisis and help local customers’ keep gardening.
Whitehall Garden Centres headquartered at Lacock, near Chippenham, Wiltshire, has obtained the funding as part of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) introduced by the government, to meet working capital requirements. The firm also owns and operates Whitchurch Garden Centre in Norton Lane, Bristol and Woodborough Garden Centre near Marlborough, Wiltshire.
Founded in 1970 by the late Mrs P Self MBE, Whitehall Garden Centres is a proud fourth generational family business, now managed by Peter and Claire Self and their daughters, and today employs more than 275 people. The business has diversified in recent years to become a visitor destination offering farm shops, Christmas grotto, ice rink and a pet and aquatics centre, in addition to the traditional garden centre offering.
Having to close its doors at a peak time in the horticultural calendar and over the Easter Holiday break has had a devastating impact on footfall and income streams. The firm has since launched an online offering to help customers keep gardening during lockdown and have donated unused spring bedding plants to local schools and organisations supporting NHS staff.
Peter Self, Managing Director, Whitehall Garden Centres, said: “Our sincerest thanks must go to Barclays for the speed and efficiency with dealing with our application, from presentation of our business plan to drawdown was only six working days, a credit to all involved. Being supported at this critical time has given us the confidence to plan for our future and gave us funds to pay our colleagues and suppliers, enabling the management team to focus on how we can best service our loyal gardening customers, with our online home delivery and click collect services, both now being expanded at pace as part of our future offering.”
Martin Crook, Relationship Director at Barclays, Bath, added: “This is a business that we have worked closely with over a number of years and when the request came in for support; I was determined to help as quickly as possible. Horticulture, like many other sectors in the current climate, is finding trading conditions really tough and it’s vital that we support where we can. This, coupled with the strength of the management team, has enabled us to respond quickly to this request and to provide the required funding within days.”