Community involvement is split into two: community at Scotsdales and community outside Scotsdales.
At the Cambridge centre, regular talks and events are all free and garden-related. Resident horticulturist Peter Jackson presents many of these and also runs gardening clinics.
The children's garden club began a year ago and now has 1,000 members aged between three and 14. The aim is to teach children about the joy of life in the garden. Membership is free and each member gets an information pack. They receive e-newsletters with competitions and get birthday cards and invitations at Christmas to buy gifts. More than 20 events are on in 2012.
Community visits to the garden centre are encouraged, particularly from schools, with children from Chernobyl visiting recently. Scotsdales links with garden clubs and gives shopping evenings. It caters for special needs groups and had a lecture room let at a minimal charge to community groups. It offers work placements to schools and now communicates via Facebook and Twitter to its community.
Several local charities collect at the centre and have information stands there. Scotsdales Charitable Foundation was set up to build the on-site David Rayner Building, home of the Cambridge Cancer Research centre. This has created an immense amount of goodwill for the centre.
Scotsdales raised a total of £8,000 for the Garden Re-Leaf Day and Greenfingers charity this spring.
The centre holds a complimentary jazz evening each July for customers.
Outside the centre, Scotsdales helps organisations with raffle prizes and sponsors many local sports clubs. Each year, Scotsdales sponsors a new garden built at Rosie Maternity hospital at Addenbrookes. Peter Jackson gives regular talks to outside groups and on radio. Scotsdale also supports the local Shelford Feast festival.
The centre plans to have a new community room in its five-year plan. Citizens' advice, library, group meetings and a senior gardening club are also planned.
- Judge's comment
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Monkton Elm Garden & Pet Centre
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