Published: Monday, 21st November 2022
Volunteers and staff at The Walled Garden within Wilton Lodge Park have been recognised for their outstanding efforts with awards at the Green Flag Awards Best of the Best.
National awards celebrating best loved green spaces
The UK-wide awards recognise the best loved green spaces from across the country whilst celebrating the efforts of staff and volunteers who maintain them all year round.
Walled Garden staff and volunteers recognised for outstanding achievements
Lisa Brydon, Volunteer Coordinator at Wilton Lodge Park was crowned Employee of the Year at the virtual event whilst the 30-strong team of volunteers who tend to the garden triumphed in the Volunteer Team of the Year category.
Lisa leads and manages the operation of the Wilton Lodge Park Walled Garden, which is an organic community garden growing fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs, overseeing gardening, food growing, delivery of training and volunteering activities, recruitment and management of the volunteer workforce who attend.
Through her work, she single-handedly successfully established the community garden as a legacy of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Parks for People project completed in 2018, restoring it to its original purpose
Community garden providing opporunities for all
The facility provides gardening opportunities for all, and everyone who comes gets different benefits, whether social contact, physical exercise therapeutic gardening activities, skills development, or a combination of all.
As part of her role Lisa recruits the volunteers who maintain the garden - identifying individual needs and providing an appropriate range of activities/support requirements, supporting those with mental and physical disabilities to be involved in a community project.
Dedicated volunteer team
The garden is tended by a volunteer team which is made up from all sectors of the community, working with partners in social work, the NHS, charities such as Macmillan, local schools and colleges providing placement opportunities and outdoor education.
Not only are the volunteers responsible for keeping the garden in exceptional order, but they choose the produce that is grown, keeping the garden attractive all year round.
The volunteers also ensured the garden was accessible for all by creating raised beds suitable for wheelchair users and people with mobility constraints.
Speaking after being presented with the Employee of the Year award, Lisa said:
“Winning the Green Flag Employee of the year award is so exciting and humbling.
“A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to achieve Green Flag status and for an employee to receive recognition is a great boost in the workplace.
“Achieving this award not only benefits one person but a whole raft of people who are committed to making our outdoor spaces such a pleasure for people to enjoy.”
Speaking on behalf of the volunteers who work at The Walled Garden, Ann Scott, said:
“Winning this Volunteer Team of the Year Award is very special for us, it recognises the hard work we put in all year round as a team.
“We recently got a fantastic new glasshouse which marks a new era for the garden and a busy year ahead for us as a team, so this is the cherry on top of what has been a busy and exciting year. Thank you very much.”
Councillor Jenny Linehan, Executive Member for Environment & Transport:
“Lisa has been the driving force behind a tremendous amount of excellent community-focussed sustainability work being done at The Walled Garden. Her drive and enthusiasm is infectious and this award is well deserved and long overdue.
“Similarly, the community of volunteers who dedicate their spare time to maintaining The Walled Garden play an absolutely vital part in maintaining the Park’s reputation as one of the very best in the UK. Without them, the Park and Walled Garden would be nowhere near as well-regarded.
“All of the hard work undertaken by Lisa and the group of volunteers contributes to Wilton Lodge Park as a whole being a cherished community asset which sees thousands of visitors from the Borders and further afield visit and enjoy.”