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Gold for Swaffham garden at Chelsea Flower Show




After being praised by television personality Monty Don, a Swaffham project's garden struck gold at the Chelsea Flower Show this week.

The ESCAPE project, based at the community allotment on Tumbler Hill, was recognised for a garden illustrating the pressures families face today.

Entitled the Family Monsters Garden, the design won a Gold Medal and was named the Best Artisan Garden at the prestigious show.

Participants, volunteers and staff from ESCAPE at the Chelsea Flower Show
Participants, volunteers and staff from ESCAPE at the Chelsea Flower Show

Created to celebrate 150 years of the Family Action charity, Monty Don said he loved the "simplicity of the garden."

Chartered landscape architect Alistair Bayford of idverde designed the garden, which is full of symbolism such as using trees with obvious imperfections to convey how families can grow together after tackling challenges.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with garden designer Alistair Bayford, pictured on the far right
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with garden designer Alistair Bayford, pictured on the far right

It is designed as a place of reflection and conversation.

Mr Bayford said: "Bringing the garden to Chelsea has been a real privilege.

"I'm ecstatic that we've won a gold medal and have been awarded Best Artisan Garden-there's no feeling like it.

"It's important that we talk more about the pressures our families face."

A coachload of 40 volunteers and staff from the ESCAPE allotment travelled from Swaffham to the capital for the show.

Karen Bek, ESCAPE project coordinator, is pictured centre with volunteers at the Chelsea Flower Show
Karen Bek, ESCAPE project coordinator, is pictured centre with volunteers at the Chelsea Flower Show

They had contributed to the garden through Family Action's ESCAPE project in which volunteers learnt therapeutic gardening skills.

After the event, the Family Monsters Garden will be relocated to Silkmore Children's Centre in Stafford to function as a place for recreation and reflection.

Family Action chief executive David Holmes said: "Every family has its monsters and we've been helping families deal with their pressures for 150 years.

"We all have everyday problems in our families that, like the boulders representing family monsters, can become more manageable simply by talking."



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