Falkirk garden’s new look is down to payback

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson visits the Walled Garden at Dollar Park''Picture: Michael Gillen
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson visits the Walled Garden at Dollar Park''Picture: Michael Gillen

Offenders are helping to transform a derelict area of a public park as part of their punishment.

The walled garden at Dollar Park had fallen into disrepair. But an innovative scheme has unpaid work teams helping to bring it back to its former glory.

Last Friday, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson visited the park to see the efforts of those on community payback orders.

The half-acre site used to house glasshouses used by the local authority. But when they were no longer needed the area in the Falkirk park fell into disrepair and became a target for vandals.

Louisa Glowacki from Falkirk Council’s criminal justice social work department was the brains behind the transformation plans and showed the minister, who is also the Falkirk West MSP, the work already carried out.

She said: “A lot of those who come to us on unpaid work orders have real skills and we thought we could put these to better use than involving them in activities such as picking up litter.

“There was public consultation to find out what people would like to see and we have also tried to incorporate service users’ ideas.”

Work is well under way on creating a fairy circle, stone chess board, willow path and tactile garden.

Mr Matheson said: “I’m really impressed that this massive improvement is under way and it is great to see the Walled Garden being brought back into use.

“This is a good example of the useful way those who have committed offences can put something back into the local community so that others can benefit from the work undertaken on community payback orders.”