Prince Charles and his Duchess visit green space which transformed community

The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, saw the transformative power of green space for themselves during an open day for charity Scotland's Gardens Scheme.

The Duke and Duchess meet volunteers in the garden. Image: Copyright Richard Davis for Scotland's Gardens Scheme
The Duke and Duchess meet volunteers in the garden. Image: Copyright Richard Davis for Scotland's Gardens Scheme

Their Royal Highnesses visited Netherthird Community Garden near Cumnock in East Ayrshire yesterday, meeting volunteers, residents and children of Netherthird Primary School next door.

The garden was created on council-owned scrubland after a member of the community Margaret Campbell decided that creating a green space would reshape the area’s reputation for anti-social behaviour. Netherthird Community Development Group was established and agreed a 30-year lease from East Ayrshire Council. The garden opened to the general public for the first time this year to raise money for charity through the Scotland’s Gardens Scheme.

The school uses the garden as an outdoor classroom, and several community groups also take advantage, including local children’s group Four Connections and the Riverside Adult Education Facility. Netherthird Community Action Training, which assists young people gain employment skills and training to help them compete in the jobs market through learning to care for the garden, is based there.

Campbell 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."

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. 

National organiser for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme Terrill Dobson 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."

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