Our Chair, Linda Phillips MBE has been made a Royal Horticultural Society Associate of Honour.
Established in 1930, the Associate of Honour is conferred on persons who have rendered distinguished service to the practice of horticulture either as employers, or employees during the course of their working life. The number of Associates of Honour may not exceed 100 at any one time.
Linda, who has been on the management committee at Dorset Road Allotments for over 15 years and was elected Chair in 2018, is also the director and founder of the London education and environment charity Roots and Shoots.
After graduating from Kew in 1981 she was was appointed by the Lady Margaret Hall Settlement, a South London charity, to set up a project in response to concerns about young people in Lambeth and Southwark leaving special schools with little hope of employment.
Using horticulture as the medium of education, Linda founded Roots and Shoots in Walnut Tree Walk, Kennington in 1982 to nurture and train local young people in all the practical and other skills they needed to enter wider life and employment.
During her 36 years as director, Linda has transformed a polluted site into a UNESCO-award-winning wildlife garden and Site of Importance for Nature Conservation; she has developed the horticulture-based training for young people at Roots into an international exemplar of best practice, flexible and strong enough to thrive and grow through political and financial turmoil and she has opened Roots to the local community to become a well-known and well-loved part of the Kennington landscape.
Linda said: “I think horticulture is a fantastic tool to enhance the lives of so many people. Our students have had difficult lives, and horticulture stabilises and strengthens their physical health, calms and regulates their emotional experience and nurtures and develops their inner lives and aspirations.
When students leave Roots, they are ready to handle relationships, employment and life in the wider community.”
As well as being the Director of Roots and Shoots, Linda also takes a hands-on role at Dorset Road Allotments. She has been our main fundraiser for many years and she willingly shares her horticultural knowledge with members. Linda has even been known to make tea for volunteers at our community events!
We think this is a very well deserved award!