Scouts dig in to help maintain gardens of art charity at Shenley Wood

Howe Park Scout Group at Westbury Arts Centre, Milton Keynes.
Howe Park Scout Group at Westbury Arts Centre, Milton Keynes.
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Youngsters from Howe Park Scout Group in Milton Keynes gave up their free time to maintain the gardens at a 17th Century farmhouse in Shenley Wood, used by the Westbury Arts Centre charity.

The group, aged from 8 to 14, worked evenings and weekend to dig out old hedges, chop trees, wash paths and clear weeds, at the old building on the edge of Shenley Wood.

Westbury Arts Centre is a charity dedicated to promoting arts and education in Milton Keynes. Amidst all their art projects, their impressive premises are a challenge to maintain, relying entirely on volunteers.

Volunteer Manager Helen denDulk said: “The charity feels very fortunate to have the use of this wonderful Grade two listed building and the artists who have studios here find the house and the surroundings inspirational.

“Apart from a part-time administrator, Westbury Arts Centre is run by volunteer trustees and artists dedicated to promoting the arts to the local community and beyond. However, due to lack of personnel and funds it has always been a struggle to maintain the house and gardens. I was thrilled when the scouts contacted us suggesting that together we organise a gardening project. Over evenings and a weekend, they did a fantastic job of clearing areas that have been on our to-do list for years! Their efforts were very much appreciated by the centre and we hope that this is the first of many projects together.”

Scout leader Neil Dickson said: “Community work is a key part of our programme, and helping this local charity was a great opportunity to do something useful and learn some local history. So many of us had driven past this old farmhouse hundreds of times and never even knew about the great things going on here. It was an excellent opportunity for the young people and families to help the community and get their hands dirty doing some hard work.”

More information about Westbury Arts Centre can be found on www.westburyartscentre.co.uk and more details of Howe Park Scout Group is at www.howeparkscouts.org.uk