Historic walled garden to undergo transformation

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A disused and overgrown listed walled garden in West Lothian, is set to be transformed into a productive enterprise by an innovative charitable partnership supported by volunteers from J.P. Morgan.

Once a hive of activity, the walled garden at Scottish War Blinded’s Linburn Centre, has fallen into disrepair as the charity’s efforts focused on expanding their support for military veterans across Scotland. In the past the listed garden produced fruits and vegetables by and for veterans supported by the charity and was a thriving part of the local community of Kirknewton.

Staff from J.P. Morgan will join charity Cyrenians, in partnership with the Scottish War Blinded charity, to volunteer time over two years to help transform the garden. Taking the garden from its current overgrown state the volunteers will turn it into a valuable outdoor space for military veterans who have lost some or all of their sight and who will be able to enjoy the serenity of the green space.

The project aims to transform the walled garden into a valued part of the Cyrenians network of community growers, contributing produce for sale in veg-bags. The initiative will also support the Cyrenians Farm enterprise project based in Kirknewton, which is also a community for young people with a background or risk of homelessness. The additional range of produce from the garden will enable the growth and development of the veg-bag scheme being rolled out across Edinburgh.

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The Cyrenians is an independent Scottish charity supporting people excluded from family, home, work or community on their life journey. They have a strong record of growing, cooking, sharing and eating food together.

Richard Hellewell, chief executive of Scottish War Blinded and Royal Blind commented that the charity were delighted to have been able to link with Cyrenians and JP Morgan for the project: “The walled garden is a special space, but its size and its overgrown state meant that we have not been able to tackle the job ourselves,” he said. “With the expertise of the Cyrenian staff and the hard work of J.P. Morgan’s volunteers we are now able to look forward to seeing it transformed.”

Ewan Aitken, CEO of Cyrenians is delighted to be part of a unique collaboration between the private sector and the two charities coming together to create something very special: “Not only will the fruits of the volunteers’ labour go towards supporting the work of Cyrenians, but the veterans at the Linburn Centre will have a beautiful growing space for relaxation and enjoying the outdoors along with the staff from J.P. Morgan,” he said.

Managing director and market lead for J.P. Morgan, Murray Bremner, points out that J.P. Morgan place great value on helping improve local communities in which they operate and that by helping restore the walled garden they hope to create a unique feature to enhance the local area for everyone including vulnerable young people: “It’s a fantastic project which is creating a lot of excitement amongst our employees,” he said.

The Linburn Centre, located in Wilkieston, West Lothian, is a free day centre for up to 35 members, providing rehabilitation, activities and social opportunities.

For more information on The Scottish War Blinded visit: https://www.royalblind.org/scottish-war-blinded

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