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Network Rail volunteers who helped clear Harrow Lodge Park's 'secret garden' scoop Mayor of London award

PUBLISHED: 10:00 16 October 2019

Netowrk Rail volunteers collecting their award at the Mayor of London's Volunteering Awards 2019 at City Hall for their work on Harrow Lodge Park's Secret Garden. Picture: Kois Miah

Netowrk Rail volunteers collecting their award at the Mayor of London's Volunteering Awards 2019 at City Hall for their work on Harrow Lodge Park's Secret Garden. Picture: Kois Miah

Kois Miah

A group of volunteers have received an award from the Mayor of London recognising their hard work to re-open and maintain a 'secret' garden in Hornchurch.

A Network Rail Training Team of volunteers cleared the Secret Garden for the Blind, in Harrow Lodge Park, after it had been closed for three years.

Now re-opened, they maintain the community garden and have created a fully accessible sensory space.

Their efforts were rewarded by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, at the Mayor's Volunteering Awards.

Held at City Hall on Monday, October 14, the awards celebrate the contribution of the capital's volunteers and community groups.

The Network Rail volunteers won in the employer supported volunteering category.

The garden has also received a Green Flag, which recognises well managed parks and green spaces.

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Mr Khan said: "It's so important to celebrate the wonderful work of our city's volunteers and community groups.

"Volunteering presents opportunities for all Londoners to have their voices heard and make a real difference to our communities at a time when we have seen key support services cut back.

"To all the nominees and winners, and to the countless other volunteers who generously dedicate themselves to helping fellow Londoners: thank you."

A Network Rail spokesman said: "It's fantastic that several Network Rail Anglia employees have been recognised for their efforts in the Mayor of London's Volunteering Awards.

"Many congratulations to the training team for their award for maintaining the Secret Garden for the Blind in Hornchurch which is richly deserved."

Among the award winners were individuals who have spent decades helping charities as well as volunteer groups supporting the community.

Debbie Weekes-Bernard, deputy mayor for social integration, social mobility and community engagement, said: "Volunteering empowers Londoners to become active citizens in their communities and allows them to connect with others from diverse backgrounds.

"That's why we want to make volunteering opportunities as accessible as possible so that everyone can take part.

"The winners of these awards have made wonderful contributions within their communities, and I would like to thank them and every Londoner who volunteers for all their hard work."

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