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A volunteer project at Inverness Botanic Gardens has received a significant cash boost

By Imogen James

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Raimonda Kanniaskaite of HSBC with Botanic manager Ewan MacKintosh and and head gardener Pamela Sutherland. Picture: Gary Anthony
Raimonda Kanniaskaite of HSBC with Botanic manager Ewan MacKintosh and and head gardener Pamela Sutherland. Picture: Gary Anthony

HSBC Bank has donated £37,000 through its community fund to the Grow project which is run for adults with learning disabilities.

Volunteers with the group grow plants and vegetables and help maintain the gardens to keep them in top condition for visitors.

Raimonda Kaniauskaite, who works at HSBC and also volunteers with Grow, helped the group apply for the cash after she found out about the fund.

She said: “From a very young age I was introduced to gardening, growing our own fruit and veg. Everything I know I owe to my mother, it was an invaluable lesson for life. I really try my best to teach my son, who is six, the very best of Mother Nature. He is our new generation who hopefully do the right thing and will have that sustainable future we are aiming for.

“I think we are extremely lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world and should all appreciate the great outdoors. The Botanic Gardens are an emerald gem in the city with an amazing team who are all working so hard!”

In a further boost the group also recently received £3000 from the Caring and Sharing charity shop in Queensgate, Inverness and £1500 from the Margaret Douglas Trust.

The money will go towards a new outdoor classroom which ties in with the project’s focus on education.

The new facility will be used Monday to Friday year round to teach the volunteers as well as nursery and school groups.

Ewan Mackintosh, manager of the Botanic Gardens, said: “In the winter months or in bad weather our activities stop as our trainees take shelter in the tea room.

“They are a hardy bunch but there is only so much rain one person can stand.

“The outdoor classroom will allow us to run activities all year and in all weathers. This sheltered space will allow us to commit to year round activities and events, everything from gardening to yoga and from horticulture to live performances.

“We are incredibly grateful for this generous donation. It will help to transform the service we provide.”

The classroom allows workshops to continue during the winter months when the weather is too bad to be working in the gardens.

The project hopes to see a growth in the appreciation of locally and sustainably grown food.

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