Huge donations will help project GROW

Botanic Gardens

Issued by High Life Highland

Two huge donations to Inverness Botanic Gardens will help cultivate a project for adults with learning and mobility issues.

Over £60,000 has been given to the GROW Project that uses horticulture therapy to deliver training and work experience.

The Inverness Common Good Fund has given £22,470 to provide enhanced disability access to the gardens and HSBC bank has given £37,500 which will go towards construction of an outdoor classroom.

In addition, £3,000 was recently donated by the Caring and Sharing charity shop on Queensgate in Inverness and £1,500 from the Margaret Douglas Trust.

GROW Project and Inverness Botanic Gardens manager Ewan Mackintosh said: “We support around 25 trainee gardeners with learning and mobility difficulties who learn gardening and life skills while maintaining and developing a beautiful and productive garden.

“This amazing group of volunteers bring so much knowledge, friendship and fun to the gardens and with these fantastic donations, we can further expand our work.

“In the winter months or in bad weather our activities stop as our trainees take shelter in the tearoom – they’re a hardy bunch but there is only so much rain one person can stand.

“Thanks to HSBC and our gardens’ volunteer Raimonda Kaniauskaite who applied to their community fund, the outdoor classroom will allow us to run activities all year around and in all weathers - from gardening to yoga, from horticulture to live performances.”

Over half of the garden area at Inverness Botanic Gardens is lovingly looked after by the GROW Project.

Chair of the Inverness Common Good Fund Sub-Committee Cllr Alex Graham said: “Inverness Councillors were delighted to support the Botanic Gardens with a £22,470 grant from Inverness Common Good Fund towards the GROW Raised Beds project.

“The Gardens have been a much-loved local attraction for many years. I was a councillor when they opened as the Floral Hall in 1993, and we and many others often took our families there.

“This excellent project supports trainee gardeners with learning and mobility difficulties to acquire gardening and life skills, while maintaining and developing the facility.

"It’s good to be able to support High Life Highland as they further develop the Botanic Gardens to benefit our local community and visitors.”

Ewan added: “A lot of our trainees have mobility issues and can find bending, kneeling, and working at low level difficult.

“The fantastic donation from the Inverness Common Good Fund will allow us to convert a large area of our growing space providing around 50m of raised beds from local company WoodBlocX, providing a comfortable working height for everyone using them.

“The food grown will be sold in our shop helping to make the GROW Project self-sufficient and any surplus food is given to Inverness Foodstuff at Ness Bank Church and Crown Community cupboard.”

HSBC UK Local Director for the Glasgow region, Justin Collington, said: “HSBC UK is delighted to support the amazing work being undertaken by Inverness Botanic Gardens within the local community.

“The expansion of the outdoor education area will not only allow more local people, especially children and teenagers, to participate all year round, but it also enhances the wider sustainability agenda that HSBC UK is so passionate about.

“We look forward to seeing the plans come to fruition.” 

15 Dec 2021