We have donated £10,000 to the charity Gardening Leave to help them build a new horticultural therapy garden for wounded Armed Forces veterans in Dundee.
This is part of our Community Outreach Programme, and follows on from our donation of £5,000 to St Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich, to sponsor their garden design competition.
Gardening Leave will be transforming an old, inner-city bowling green in Dudhope Park in central Dundee into a working horticultural therapy garden. The project will allow the large veteran population living on Scotland’s east coast to access the charity’s gardening therapy services.
In the picture, receiving our giant cheque, are: Zisky Stovell, Gardening Leave horticultural therapist; Danny Quinn, one of the veterans who served with the 1st Battalion the Irish Guards; Heather Budge-Reid, chief executive of Gardening Leave; Roger Moore, vice-chairman and trustee of Gardening Leave; Vicky Page, head of the Scotts Miracle-Gro UK Community Outreach Programme; Stacey Crump, Armed Forces Covenant fund manager; Jacqueline Frances, marketing manager of ISS Facility Services Landscaping.
The new garden, to be built by ISS Facility Services Landscaping, has received a £10,000 Gro1000 Grassroots Grant from Scotts Miracle-Gro. As well as giving the project this cash boost, we have forged green links between Gardening Leave and a veteran's horticultural therapy charity garden in North Carolina in America, which is funded by our US company. The charities’ gardens will be twinned when they both open later this year, sharing best therapeutic practice and experiences.
The new Dundee garden will feature raised wooden vegetable, herb and flower beds, a communal seating area, kitchen and quiet area and will be planned along the lines of a traditional kitchen garden with the produce destined for local community activities.
Heather Budge-Reid, chief executive of Gardening Leave, said: “The east coast of Scotland has traditionally always had a large Armed Forces veteran population and Dundee is the third largest recruiting centre in Scotland, so we’re really excited about launching a new project in the city. To have the support of Scotts Miracle-Gro and ISS, as well as our original funding grant from the Armed Forces Covenant, is wonderful. We’re looking forward to seeing the Dudhope Park space being transformed into a garden where local veterans can grow and tend vegetables, as a first step on their journey to good health and a successful transition to civilian life.”
Vicky Page, head of the Scotts Miracle-Gro UK Community Outreach Programme, said: "Scotts Miracle-Gro has worked with Gardening Leave on several projects over the years. When we heard about the new Dundee garden project we were very happy and excited to help get the garden up and running. Gardening Leave is a wonderful charity and the work they do for our veterans using Horticultural Therapy is simply outstanding."
We will be following the progress of the garden and its grand opening this autumn.