Garden centres urged to set up home delivery services

Garden centres are being urged to set up home delivery services after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close their doors.

There are calls to support gardeners and struggling centres
There are calls to support gardeners and struggling centres

Rural affairs and natural environment minister Mairi Gougeon has written to bosses of such businesses, urging them to consider a mail order service for selling plants and seeds.

While some garden centres are doing this, she said many others had shut up shop completely as a result of Covid-19.

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Explaining why she had contacted garden centres, Ms Gougeon said: “It is important for people’s mental health to have the ability to be out in their gardens and do work and support their local plant nurseries.

“A lot have closed, and as a government we’ve been encouraging non-essential businesses to close, but I wanted to write to garden centres to make it clear that even though we have these restrictions in place within our emergency regulations, it is still possible for them to sell online, and to encourage them to do that where possible.

“It is also recognising that for a number of garden centres and plant nurseries this would probably be their busiest time of year normally and we want to try to encourage them to think about other ways of doing their business, while adhering to all the social distancing guidelines.”

She added: “I do think with so many people looking to work in their own gardens and their own green space, and with all the amazing weather we are having as well, we really want to try to encourage those businesses and make them fully aware of what the regulations say, what they are permitted to do, so they can make use of that as much as possible.”

In her letter the minister said by allowing customers to shop from home garden centres could “promote physical and mental health and keep us active whilst also providing some much needed revenue for a pressured sector of our economy”.

She said: “As we enter the fourth week of lockdown, many families are turning to gardening – rightly – as a means of keeping active and close to home, encouraging healthy outdoor activity with children, and even as a way of helping to grow their own food.”

A study yesterday be e-commerce agency Melody revealed around 60 per cent of shoppers say they will stick to new shopping habits once the lockdown unwinds in the latest blow to the beleaguered high street.

The research said that 92 per cent of UK adults said they have changed their shopping habits due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shoppers said they have increased the amount of shopping done online after being forced to spend more time at home, the tracker study of 2,000 UK consumers said.

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