We have become aware of posts, and a petition, on social media claiming to be circulated on behalf of The Veterans Garden, Dumfries and implying that The Crichton Trust is evicting The Veterans Garden from their home at The Crichton. These claims, posts and the petition came as a surprise to both organisations, and we, therefore, want to ensure that the public is aware that these claims are factually incorrect and have been generated from an unofficial source.
Sadly, actions like this can be damaging to the organisations and individuals involved and, on this occasion, have somewhat overshadowed the fantastic news announced at the weekend that The Veterans Garden, Dumfries, has been shortlisted for a Health and Wellbeing award in the Scottish Veterans Awards for the work they do from their base at The Crichton.
We would like to take this opportunity to reinforce how passionate both organisations are about protecting the wellbeing of our community and, in particular, our commitment to supporting the veteran community at The Crichton. We strongly believe that The Crichton is a great place for connecting people to nature and to other people, and we are well aware of the benefits this safe place offers to veterans and their families as they try to rebuild their lives after service.
Since The Veterans Garden team moved to The Crichton four years ago, The Crichton Trust has worked with and offered various forms of in-kind support to the veterans and both organisations are committed to working together to ensure this continues.
To confirm this commitment, The Veterans Garden Project has a continuing licence for the land they currently occupy at The Crichton and, just recently, the area of land allocated to the veterans has been expanded to provide additional space for their work.
In further efforts to improve the area around The Veterans Garden, The Crichton Trust has recently applied for permission to take down the adjacent glasshouses, which are currently in a state of disrepair. As part of this process, The Crichton Trust is working with a building archaeologist to ensure that key elements of the glasshouses will be preserved and, where possible, will form part of the new glasshouses built in their place, which will create new opportunities for the veterans and the wider community at The Crichton and surrounding areas.
The Crichton has demonstrated the therapeutic value of community and gardening for many years, and the veterans garden is a fantastic modern-day example of this.
We would like to thank the organisations and members of the public who have kindly shown their support for The Veterans Garden, Dumfries, over the years, and we are sorry if anyone has been misled by the unofficial campaign that is currently in circulation. We particularly want to reassure the veteran community that they are a valued part of The Crichton Community now and in the future.
Archie Dryburgh MBE, Armed Forces Champion for Dumfries and Galloway Council, said: “The importance of the Veterans Garden Dumfries cannot be underestimated. Discussions with The Crichton Trust, the Veterans Garden and I have taken place in the past, and I am sure they will continue in the future. The suggestion that the Veterans Garden Dumfries will possibly close down is not correct. I will continue to work with both organisations to see what further opportunities can be discussed as the Project for the Greenhouses moves forward. The Veterans Garden Dumfries is a Nationally recognised project supporting veterans, and I will continue working with them to support the services they provide for our forces community”.
Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive of The Crichton Trust, said: “We enjoy a strong working and positive relationship with the Veteran’s Garden Dumfries, and we welcome their continued presence within The Crichton Grounds. The Crichton Trust is passionate about and recognises the wellbeing and therapeutic value of gardening; indeed, The Crichton has for over 150 years, helped individuals recover from mental illness through access to the soil and horticulture. The Veteran’s Garden carry on that great work, and we have been delighted to support them over the past four years, and we are committed to working with them to help them grow and fulfil their ambitions today and for the future”.