FAIRLIGHT Hall is playing a key role in creating new job opportunities for would-be gardeners.
The extensive grounds of the property have been used to provide important training for gardeners under the Work and Re-train as a Gardener scheme (WRAGS).
It was launched 20 years ago by the Women’s Farm and Garden Association.
The concept is simple. Trainees work for 15 hours a week for a year, in a carefully sourced garden, under the instruction of a garden owner or head gardener.
The scheme is run by coordinators who set up garden placements, review monthly reports and visit the trainees in each garden twice during their placement.
Registration fees are charged to help with the costs of the scheme, which at present are £375 for trainees and £125 for garden owners and the garden owner pays a training allowance to the trainee. Gardens involved in the scheme include Hampton Court Palace and Highgrove.
Local co-ordinator Liddy Davidson started in post with one trainee in one garden in July 2012 and is now delighted to have 17 gardens offering 15 WRAGS placements across Sussex and South Hampshire.
She said: “We are really fortunate to have several superb East Sussex gardens providing support for WRAGS, including Fairlight Hall, Kings Hill House at Hurst Green and Clinton Lodge at Fletching.”
Krystyna Ricca recently finished her WRAGS training at Fairlight Hall, having given up her office job a year ago to make a change of career. She said: “My WRAGS training has taught me so much through all the seasons and I am now much more confident.
“I have been very lucky to have been trained in the amazing gardens at Fairlight and I would recommend a WRAGS placement to anyone who wants to develop their practical gardening skills.”
Head gardener Peter Godwin said: “The gardens at Fairlight have benefited from the support and hard work of several WRAGS trainees over the last few years. Their commitment and enthusiasm also rubs off on the gardening team.”
For more details call the WFGA office on 01285 658339 or email Liddy at: Liddywfga@gmail.com.