The Windlesham Trophy is an annual competition run by the Ministry of Justice and the Royal Horticultural Society for prison gardens and gardening.
It was founded in 1983 by Lord Windlesham, the chairman of the parole board to give prisoners a sense of worth and to promote gardening excellence. The trophy is actually a fire engine bell from an old fashioned ‘Green Goddess’ fire engine and is awarded by the RHS president Elizabeth Banks, who heads the judging panel on behalf of the Royal Horticultural Society. Gardening gives prisoners, who have often had little or no experience of horticulture, the chance to work in a new environment with many of the prisons also offering qualifications which prisoners can use to find employment once released.
This year’s winners were HMP Whatton in Nottinghamshire who received a wide range of Bulldog Evergreen Tools as well as the prestigious trophy. Their gardens which are located all around the prison include meadow planting, fruit and vegetable production, banks for conifers, rose gardens and a large naturally planted pond.
The RHS judges who chose the winning prison were particularly impressed with the amount of recycling that goes on at Whatton. They produce their own compost, a ‘worm tea’ from their sophisticated wormery and when the large pond was made they used old timber and metal to construct a sturdy bridge across it. They also propagate plants for many other prisons around the UK and in turn receive new plants and trees in return by way of payment.
Our friends at Quality Garden Tools are sponsoring the event and are the first ever commercial supporters of the Windlesham Trophy with £800 worth of our solid forged, British made Bulldog Tools donated to the lucky winners, runners up and finalists. With prison budgets under pressure, the tools should be useful not only at HMP Whatton, but also at runners-up HMP Maidstone and finalists HMP Parkhurst and HMP Kirkham who also receive ranges of Bulldog Evergreen Tools.
Although making the surroundings beautiful is not the main point of this competition, prison officers say that planting around the buildings rather than concreting can reduce tensions within the establishment. According to the officers involved, the garden projects also give the prisoners involved a sense of purpose and achievement, decreasing the probability of them reoffending once released.
Congratulations to HMP Whatton on their achievement.
To see our range of Bulldog Gardening Tools, please click here.