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Harmony Therapy Trust's garden in bloom at Victoria Street, Sheerness, base thanks to helpful prisoners

By Emma Grove

Charity volunteers are hoping the splash of colour in a community garden will encourage visitors along to an annual high tea.

The Harmony Therapy Trust will host the fundraiser on Sunday, June 22, from 2pm.

It will be held at the venue in Victoria Street, Sheerness, in aid of the cause, which is the Times Guardian and the Sittingbourne News Extra’s Charity of the Year.

Dawn Cockburn, Denise Dickson and Kate Lilley in the Harmony Therapy Trust garden

The trust provides free treatments for people with serious illnesses.

Work on the garden has been largely carried out by prisoners on the community payback scheme through HMP Standford Hill, and Harmony founder Dawn Cockburn is full of praise for how hard they have worked.

“It was in a terrible state when we started back in 2011,” she said.

“But with all the various help along the way it now looks lovely. It’s all starting to come into bloom and looks so rich.

“[The prisoners] have been so helpful and it means we can concentrate on other things as we don’t have to worry about weeding the garden.”

Tickets costs £5 and there will be a selection of sandwiches, cakes, scones and drinks.

The garden will also be used for a Poppy Patchers’ fundraiser for the trust on Sunday, August 3, where they will be showing off their quilting skills.

Meanwhile, Mrs Cockburn and financial trustee Rita Couzins have been learning about the best ways to apply for grants.

They went along to a funding fair at the New Line Learning Academy on Wednesday.

It was organised by Funding for All, Kent County Council and Maidstone Borough Council and there was advice on where not-for-profit groups can get help from, the best way to fill out forms and pitfalls to look out for.

Mrs Cockburn said she was delighted to see other Island organisations represented, including Sheppey Matters and Love Sheppey.

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