Rookery Project Update

A meeting was held on Wednesday 9th October to discuss the next steps for the Rookery Centenary project.

Following an introduction from the Chair (Richard Payne) about the latest work of the friends,   Barbara Wright from the Friends gave an update on the Green Flag Award, and what that means going forward.  Among many aspects discussed, the current bad state and regular unavailability of the toilets was noted as particularly important.  We’ll get something up on our website about this soon.

We then heard from our Guest speaker Fiona Crumley, formerly Head Gardener, Chelsea Physic Garden and Chiswick House on volunteers and a great future for public gardens.  It was interesting to hear that volunteers are really key to turning around public gardens.  We heard how Chiswick was completely turned around on the back of volunteers building momentum to move from no gardeners, to one, and then to five, as public support grew as they could see the gardens improving.  It was also interesting to hear that another key part to the project was creating a Trust to manage the gardens which could then bid for larger sums of money from the HLF and other sources and also generate some income from thing like weddings and filming, further increasing the project’s momentum.  Pleasing to hear that we are heading down the right path with our plans for SCCoop and the HLF money we won last year.

We then heard from Sophie Hussey from the Friends and Charlotte Dove who has been recently appointed as the Project Co-ordinator about the Centenary Project and what it plans to achieve.  This includes among other things the research and restoration of the White Garden.

We the spoke about the upcoming volunteer days and what work we would be focusing on initially, which in the short term includes clearing more of the ivy from the walls of the garden.  We’ll also be providing a warm drink and some biscuits for the volunteer group.

If you would like to get involved in the project, please email


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