THE DUKE and Duchess of Rothesay helped residents and school children from an ex-mining town in Ayrshire celebrate the grass roots success of their popular, local community garden, during a very special open day for charity Scotland’s Gardens Scheme.
Their Royal Highnesses visited Netherthird Community Garden near Cumnock in East Ayrshire, meeting the volunteers, local residents and school children who all benefit from the horticultural ‘oasis of calm’ built on a patch of scrubland next to Netherthird Primary School.
The garden, the brainchild of Margaret Campbell, was set up in 2010 and is helping to transform the lives of many local residents. It opened to the general public for the first time this year to raise money for charity through the Scotland’s Gardens Scheme and this second, special opening welcomed the Royal couple. The Duchess of Rothesay is the President of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme and the Prince Charles’ Foundation recently provided funding for a wooden gazebo seating area in the garden.
The green-fingered project helps a host of community groups including the neighbouring school, which uses it as an outdoor classroom; local children’s group Four Connections; the Riverside Adult Education Facility, and Netherthird Community Action Training, which assists young people gain employment skills and training to help them compete in the jobs market, is based there. They all get to enjoy the colourful cottage garden and flower beds, productive vegetable garden and polytunnel, play area and café.
Margaret Campbell from Netherthird Community Garden said: “We are really delighted to have welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay to Netherthird Community Garden, they have worked so hard to improve and develop our surrounding towns and villages. This visit means so much to all the volunteers and to the people from our community.”
Terrill Dobson, National Organiser for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, said: “This project proves how beneficial gardens can be; spaces for learning, healing, supporting and having fun. Netherthird has such strong community support behind it which is wonderful to see and we’re thrilled the garden opens to the public as part of our scheme.”