The Stovehouse is an 84 metre long Victorian greenhouse situated in the Ornamental Gardens at Auchincruive. When Gardening Leave started in 2007, the Stovehouse was in need of repair so in 2009, work started to bring it back to it’s former glory. Our Stovehouse Supervisor Hugh ‘Stevie’ McAulay’s (himself a veteran after 41 years in the Army) role is to make this happen so that we can widen the scope of our therapeutic activity here at Gardening Leave for our veterans.
As the Stovehouse had not been is use for several years, it was in need of some major repairs and thanks to the generosity of many of our supporters (see our Funders section) we have now managed to complete the first half of the Stovehouse (as shown above) which has been re-named the Balfour Brothers Section (to commend 2 of our volunteers for their time, effort and great work on the project). It is now time for work to begin on the second half.
We have received offers of help from serving personnel both regular and reserve, cadets and many other organisations which has been a wonderful opportunity for our veterans to work along side and engage with others. These working parties have all helped to get the Stovehouse ready so that we can extend activities to include woodwork, art & design to growing fruit and vegetables.
Every month Stevie will give an update on the latest goings on & progress of the project so keep coming back and enjoy watching this great project come to life! (See below)
The month of January 2013 has had its highs and lows, what with the weather the way it has been in December and also January, so we have been very limited as to what could be done in the Stovehouse. The lighting gear and metal have been stripped out of section 6 (middle rear section). This is the last section to be done labour wise as sections 3 and 4 are ready for the contractors.
The high of the month was the arrival of the hand and power tools for use by the Veterans in the workshop (section 1) for the making of bird boxes and bird feeders and other items. Once the Health & Safety documents are all completed and the plan for the Volunteers who will supervise the workshop activities drawn up, the hammers and tools will be in harmony with the wood.
Unfortunately the low was that I will be leaving Gardening Leave, most probably at the end of February. The work outstanding is about 80% of contractor’s jobs and most of the other 20% not being possible until the contractors complete their part. It makes economic sense to minimise expenditure whilst we try to get the funding in place to complete the Stovehouse, even if only a section at a time. We must face the fact that the current financial situation is not good news for Charities in general and funding will tend to take longer to find as the monies are spread thinner on the ground.
I have had the most enjoyable 3 years with Gardening Leave with the Veterans, Volunteers and Staff alike. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your excellent company, good humour, resilience and hard work at Gardening Leave in general and with the Stovehouse project in particular. I will be back to see you all and the project as it moves on to completion, please take care and keep your head down. Goodbye till our next deployment.