We are able to extend our public liability insurance to garden owners hosting an Open Garden event in support of Katharine House Hospice.  

For our insurance to extend to your Open Gardens event, you need to: 

  1. Register as an Open Gardens volunteer with Katharine House Hospice. 
  2. Submit a completed risk assessment prior to your Open Garden event.  

If your Open Garden event has more than one garden open, then each garden owner will need to register as a volunteer and complete the risk assessment if they want to be a part of our public liability insurance. There is no obligation to do this, but we would recommend it. 

Registering as an Open Gardens volunteer 

When you register your Open Gardens event with us, our team will ensure you are signed up as a volunteer. To do this, you will need to give verbal or written consent to our volunteer agreement which can be found here.  

Open Gardens volunteer agreement

Completing a risk assessment 

A risk assessment is about recording the potential hazards in a garden and explaining what will be done in response to those hazards and to lessen the risk for visitors.  

Potential hazards often include paths, steps and water and, in the majority of cases, the appropriate action is for there to be signage at the Open Gardens event indicating the hazard. Occasionally it might be necessary to rope or otherwise close off an area.  

We stress that recording these hazards, and the action taken, does not result in liability for you, as the garden owner. Similarly, in the unlikely event of an incident occurring with a visitor involving an area or feature of the garden that has not been noted in the assessment, this would not mean that the cover is invalid. The policy is based on information being supplied on a 'reasonable endeavours' basis.  

Please download our risk assessment form and once you have filled it in and signed it, return to Rachel Burns (see contact details below). 

Download the risk assessment form (Word doc)

Download the risk assessment form (pdf doc)

If you have any questions relating to completing your risk assessment, please contact Rachel Burns:

Insurance guidelines

Katharine House Hospice holds public liability insurance to provide limited protection for Garden Owners against claims for personal injury and/or damage to property during, or as a direct result of, the opening of a garden for Katharine House Hospice where the hospice can be legally liable.  

The insurance cover also provides certain protection against, for instance, personal injury to a Garden Owner while involved in a garden opening. 

This insurance will only apply where the garden is opening for the benefit of Katharine House Hospice and the hospice is legally liable for an incident. 

These notes are general guidance but are not exhaustive.  

Advice and procedures 

  • Register as a Katharine House Hospice volunteer and complete and submit a Katharine House Hospice risk assessment prior to the event (see above). 
  • Please insure your own property, including garden furniture, and notify your household insurers of your opening dates. They are usually cooperative; if they are not, please let us know.  
  • Display the ‘Welcome’ notice in your garden and also in a car park, if you are operating one. It will remind people to take care. This notice, which is available from Katharine House Hospice, may not represent a legal defence but may discourage frivolous claims. 

Download the Welcome notice (A4 pdf) 

  • Label and fence off potential hazards. Katharine House Hospice can help with signage needed. 
  • Although issuing tickets is not compulsory, it is extremely helpful to provide proof of entry, such as a ticket (physical or on a mobile phone as proof of purchase), should there be an incident. For all tickets purchased through the Katharine House Website, proof of purchase can be provided. If Katharine House Hospice are selling tickets for your Open Gardens event, we can supply proof of purchase in the event of an incident. 

What is covered 

  • Personal injury to a visitor, including illness resulting from food or drink, where negligence by Garden Owner, volunteer or Katharine House Hospice is proved. 
  • Damage to a visitor’s personal property where negligence by Garden Owner, volunteer or Katharine House Hospice is proved.
  • Theft of admission money, 14 days after a garden opening, providing reasonable care has been taken and money has not been left unattended. 
  • Personal injury to a volunteer, aged 16 or over, while acting for Katharine House Hospice.  
  • Injury to a visitor arising from a garden-related incident, where negligence by Garden Owner, volunteer or Katharine House Hospice is proved. 

What is not covered 

  • You are NOT covered if you have not registered as a Katharine House Hospice volunteer and submitted a completed risk assessment prior to the event. 
  • Garden Open to the Public (gardens opening regularly on a commercial basis but giving the occasional day(s) to Katharine House Hospice), who should have their own insurance in place. 
  • Gardens Open to the Public, and private gardens on days not dedicated to Katharine House Hospice. 
  • Injury to a visitor arising from a defect in the maintenance of the property. 
  • Theft or damage to a Garden Owner’s property. 
  • Parking on the Garden Owner’s property or at a place specifically designated by the Owner. 
  • Honesty boxes or collection buckets and tins left unattended. 
  • The personnel of third-party organisations who are offering services at a garden opening but retaining all income.  
  • Loss or damage to articles hired in or personal effects of visitors. 
  • Certain categories of supplementary events held in gardens on Katharine House Hospice Open Garden event days: our insurers have asked us to note that the Insurance Policy does not apply to liability in respect of, for example: the use of swimming pools; boats or aircraft, including remote controlled devices; bouncy castles; firework displays, etc. This list is not exhaustive; please check if you propose any unusual activity at your opening or if you are in any doubt. Any unusual activity should also be checked for Health and Safety approval. 

What to do in the event of an accident/incident 

  • Report accidents/incidents as soon as possible to Katharine House Hospice via your key contact, on the same day if practicably possible. In the case of a serious accident, a formal report must be made.  
  • Make notes of the circumstances of any incident that could result in a claim and take photographs of the scene as soon as possible. Written evidence should be obtained from third parties if possible. Please make sure you obtain statements from witnesses and their names and addresses.  
  • Be solicitous but DO NOT admit liability or encourage members of the public to claim. Such actions invalidate the policy. If there is an allegation of an accident or loss, the claimant should be asked to write to Katharine House Hospice setting out their complaint.  

For further information

Please contact Rachel Burns. 

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