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Save a Life, Drop the Knife

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Glen Jackson Glen Jackson | 18:45 UK time, Wednesday, 20 July 2011

My experience of building a show garden at RHS Show Tatton Park this year has been amazing. Despite all the pre-planning there are certain anxieties that lend themselves to the occasional sleepless night.

A good friend of mine once said to me that there are certain things you have, total control of, partial control of and no control of - it’s the latter two that cause all the anxieties.

I have been very fortunate that our key partners in the build; ISG, have been instrumental in project managing and supporting the initiative.

Save a Life, Drop the Knife

Save a Life, Drop the Knife Show Garden at RHS Show Tatton Park

ISG assembled the team which constructed the garden and suggested the off-site manufacture of certain elements which would lend itself to greater efficiency on the site build. From a personal level I am grateful for their insight, professionalism and support throughout the whole project.
I also have to say that I am grateful to HMP Everthorpe for allowing me to see this initiative through to its entirety.

Knives confiscated by police set into resin blocks

Knives confiscated by police set into resin blocks

Knife crime in the UK is a serious issue and my involvement in this project has brought me into contact with perpetrators of knife crime, victims of knife crime, as well as the families of victims of knife crime. Having had direct contact with these people it has made me even more passionate about tackling issues around knife crime.

We have had over 50 offenders that have worked on the project and many of the elements of the garden design you see have been constructed within the prison. The bridge, sculpture, art work and many of the plants have all been produced within the prison walls.

I've witnessed the thought processes change for those that were involved; once they became involved in the project, they took personal ownership and felt inspired to do something positive with their lives.

We built the garden at HMP Everthorpe, it was our “Tatton Park proto-type”. We were funded by The Princes Trust and we were fortunate to win a community impact award. One of the sponsors of the evening was so impressed with the garden construction that one of our offenders, who had played a pivotal role in the build, was offered a job – the offender is now successfully employed by this company and this is a real success story that came about because of this garden.

What next? Ultimately we want to raise awareness on the issues surrounding knife crime. We hope to use the show to project our message to a national audience using the various modes of media at Tatton Park. We would like the show to become a catalyst for subsequent projects in the community, creating localised programmes which can be replicated and accessed by a wider audience beyond the prison walls and into the community.

In conclusion, I can honestly say that this has brought both highs and lows. We are aiming to give it our best shot and we are certainly aiming for gold!

Glen Jackson

An overwhelmed Glen Jackson shows off his Best in Show medal

Glen Jackson debuted his first RHS Show Garden at this year's RHS Show Tatton Park and was named Best in Show.


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