Community Involvement Award

Winner: Glendoick Garden Centre

Glendoick Garden Centre in Glencarse, Perthshire, holds a host of events and initiatives to promote community involvement.

Little Blooms is held on Wednesdays during the holidays and on Saturdays during term times. This gardening club for toddlers mixes an educational and fun approach to nature and gardening with themed sessions including songs, rhymes, craft, stories and planting activities, and is taught by a retired teacher of 30 years' experience.

If you live in Scotland you may not expect much of a summer, so Glendoick decided to offer the next best thing - an indoor beach along with cafe tables for parents to be able to enjoy a cuppa.

Jane Cox, who runs the centre with her husband Kenneth, approached a local knitting expert, Elena Costella, and she jumped at the idea of a Knit & Natter Club that now meets on the first Thursday of every month in the centre's conservatory.

Conscious of the core customer, Tuesdays are now "Pensioner's Lunch Day", with a two-course meal, tea and coffee on offer at £6.95. With a loyal following, Glendoick now regularly serves 50 meals a week.

Inspired by an image on Pinterest, Glendoick manager Lynn Kelly commissioned local crafters to create a "spring chair". Made of wool and crochet, and full of flora and fauna, it took three months to design and make and has been widely admired and photographed.

In 2014 Jane Cox came up with the idea for the Carse Children's Market. She wanted to celebrate the children of the Carse and offer them a business opportunity, so she decided to offer local schools and other community youth groups the opportunity to sell a product they had designed and made. She visited each of the seven primary schools and children's groups twice - the first time to teach children about enterprise and to advise on choosing a product and how to cost it, the second visit, once they had a proof or prototype, to discuss marketing and merchandising their product. Scottish Government finance minister John Swinney opened the event and the children raised more than £2,000 for their own funds.

Staff choose a charity each year. This year it was the Archie Foundation, caring for children in the local Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. The staff organise a hunt around the garden centre with donations to their chosen charity.

The Scouts, Cubs and Beavers come twice a year to wash customers' cars and on each occasion have raised more than £800 per weekend for sports equipment.

Also, Dundee Refuge Support was initiated by a member of staff who wanted to help. Glendoick has become a local hub for collecting donations for the refugee crisis.

Glendoick also took part in the "Stop for Soup" charity campaign to raise awareness of local homelessness, donating 50p for every bowl of soup sold in the restaurant. With all these initiatives up and running, Glendoick's Facebook page has grown from 200 to more than 2,000 people in less than a year, offering community feedback online and in store.

Highly commended
Tong Garden Centre
Baring All! and Million Bulb Planting, Sidmouth Garden Centre
Perrywood Garden Centre & Nurseries

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