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How it all began...
In May 2012, I read about an organisation called Gardening Leave, which offered Horticultural Therapy to military veterans.
I travelled up to Scotland to talk to Anna Baker-Cresswell, their founder, and after an inspiring conversation, decided to bring the idea to Lancashire. At that point, I had no idea what the future would hold, and that is probably a good thing!
The perfect spot
From day one, Preston City Council have been very practical and sensitive supporters of the project. When their Parks Department was approached with a request for some land on which to create the garden, they provided a perfect spot within an old walled garden. The fact that it had not been touched in 20-years was not important, help was at hand...
Welcome to the jungle
A team of ex-service personnel, under the leadership of Preston-born Kevin Goddlington, came to our rescue with their television programme ‘Construction Squad: Operation Homefront’. They took just one day, along with the help of Preston City Council workers and local residents, to clear the site, which could only be described as a jungle.
All hands on deck
They then spent a mere four days to build the garden. This was done in the most awful rain Lancashire could muster, with local businesses and individuals coming together in true ‘all hands on deck’ style.
When the garden was revealed to me, all I felt was overwhelmed. So many people had put so much into creating this garden, and I now had the responsibility of making sure it worked, for those we were aiming to reach.
Donna Rowe-Green, Founder of Dig In North West