In 2019, volunteer assessors were estimated to contribute almost 900 hours of time to the It's Your Neighbourhood campaign, so it is clear that without the contribution of our expert assessors and the invaluable guidance they give to the entrants, It's Your Neighbourhood would not be the campaign it is today.

If you are interested in finding out more about what it's like to be a volunteer assessor for It's Your Neighbourhood, please read the two stories in the 'Related Documents' section below.

Find out about our volunteer It's Your Neighbourhood assessors below.

  • Angela Smith
    Angela trained as a horticulturist and florist 30…something years ago! with Renfrew District Council. She was based in the central nursery in Hawkhead, Paisley, and was part of the propagation team growing on in excess of 350,000 annual bedding plants, perennials and edible crops.  Angela successfully ran her own business 'Angela’s Flowers' in Bridge of Weir, engaging closely with her local community, sharing her knowledge, skills and passion in horticulture, and brought three beautiful children up in her back shop!! Angela has also worked within Education, using horticulture as a vehicle to engage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and to support life and core skills and, at the same time, building their confidence and self esteem. She has also worked in horticultural therapy centres, delivering holistic therapeutic horticulture, and is presently employed by the Royal Horticultural Society working within Education, Communities and Funding. Angela thoroughly enjoys supporting and assisting schools, community growing groups and individuals to enjoy growing inside and out across Scotland, and she is a happy gardening granny.
  • Ann McCulloch
    Ann joined the assessor team in 2019. Ann helped to establish the Watch US Grow Project in Cumbernauld, working from an organic garden in Palacerigg Country Park, with adults with a range of support needs and adults recovering from mental health challenges. From its beginnings in 1999, Watch US Grow has developed a reputation for delivering a range of projects in partnership with local community organisations. Watch US Grow has participated in the Its Your Neighbourhood scheme for several years, using it to develop skills and attractions within its garden while encouraging members to look at new opportunities for personal development. When she has time, Ann enjoys her garden, and in particular the raised beds in which she has planted a range of lovely perennials. As retirement looms, Ann is keen to volunteer, and sees Its Your Neighbourhood as an opportunity which will be enjoyable, interesting and educational - and a lot of fun - meeting people with common interests - and new ideas!
  • Colin Ainsworth
    Colin has had a varied and considerable experience throughout the public sector over the past 40 plus years. He started with Blackpool Parks as an apprentice in 1972, then gained a place at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, successfully completing the Diploma course (DHE). He then moved down to Warwickshire College as a Horticultural Technician/Instructor, then moved to Dundee City Council in 1983 as a Parks Training Officer. Colin held other roles within Dundee City Council - Assistant Horticultural Officer, Horticultural Officer and latterly Health & Safety Officer for the then Leisure & Communities Department. Since its, inception Colin was heavily involved in the organisation and logistics for the Dundee Flower & Food Festival. Colin took early retirement in September 2011, is a long standing member of the Hardy Plant Society and has been the Vice Convener for the Scotland & Northern Borders Group of the HPS. Colin judges for Beautiful Scotland as well as assessing for It's Your Neighbourhood.
  • Daniel Shand
    Daniel joined the assessor team in 2019. He has worked for Aberdeen City Council for over 10 years, starting as an apprentice gardener before becoming the charge hand gardener for Hazlehead park. Daniel still works for the environmental services team but now as lead project craster. In this role, he encourages and supports school children, adults and charities to get out in the garden or green spaces around the city and do some gardening. Daniel also stars in Aberdeen City Council's vlog titled 'The Council Gardener', which promotes the city’s green spaces, the groups who work endlessly to make them great and a few gardening tips he's learned along the way. Becoming an It's Your Neighbourhood assessor was a great opportunity to connect to more groups or individuals on the mission of making Scotland beautiful and to support them on that important mission.
  • David Turnbull
    After graduating with a BSc.Hons in Plant Biology from the University of Strathclyde, David started with Ciba Geigy Agriculture in Cambridge as a Field Trials Officer. Three years later, he became a Technical Crops Advisor for Ciba Geigy based in Kelso, advising farmers and horticultural growers throughout the South of Scotland and Northumberland. After eight years, David became a Regional Manager with CSC Crop Protection in the Borders Region, managing a team of technical sales advisors and crop spraying operators. He also had his own portfolio, advising leading farmers, horticultural growers and the forestry industry. Sensing a new industry emerging, David formed a new company, Biomass Energy Services to develop skills in energy crops production. This led to the establishment of Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) willow crops across the UK for the UK Department of Trade and Industry and a UK Energy utility, producing woodchips for a biomass power plant. David became an assessor for Its Your Neighbourhood in 2018 and a judge for the Green Flag awards scheme in 2019.
  • Graham McKay
    Graham is a first time assessor for It’s Your Neighbourhood this year. Graham has worked for Aberdeen City Council for 35 years, initially within the Cleansing Department before moving on to the present day where he works as an Operations Manager within Environmental Services. Graham has direct operational responsibility for Parks, Ground Maintenance, Street Cleaning, Graffiti removal and public conveniences. He has been heavily involved with the City’s 'In Bloom' group for the last five years, and has been a Judges Guide on ‘Judgement Day’, for the past three years, culminating in the City achieving a Gold Award in Britain in Bloom in 2014. He became involved with 'In bloom' initiatives after being invited to an awards ceremony and being so struck by the enthusiasm of everybody involved, especially the many community volunteers.
  • Helen Carroll
    Helen joined the assessor team in 2018.
  • Ian Maclennan
    Ian has been assessing, along with his wife Sandra, for many years now, and gives a lot of his time to the campaign.
  • Ian Mitchell
    Ian joined the assessing team in 2015. Ian previously worked for Aberdeen City Council and now works for Aberdeenshire Council as a Landscape Services Officer.
  • Jim Henderson
    Jim has been an assessor now for four years and enjoys every visit he makes. He is an experienced gardener, having worked allotments for more than 50 years, and has been a director of the Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen for more than 20 years, being a past Chairman of the Society. He is presently involved in running both adult and children’s gardening workshops for the RHSA in conjunction with Duthie Park in Aberdeen, and also leads Cove in Bloom in all their activities. Jim is now on the board of the recently formed Cove Woodland Trust, which is buying an area of approx. 16 acres of land on which to develop a Community Country Park for the residents of Cove and Altens.
  • John MacLennan
    John joined Keep Scotland Beautiful's team of judges and assessors in 2014. The majority of his working career was within the flower seed trade, serving in a sales and technical capacity with Colegrave Seeds and Moles Seeds. Through this work he came in contact with growers and local authorities throughout Scotland, Ireland and Northern England, often assisting in plant choice for entries in Beautiful Scotland, Ulster in Bloom and Yorkshire in Bloom. Trained at East of Scotland College of Agriculture, West of Scotland Agricultural College, and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, John possesses a wide experience including many aspects of horticulture such as education and training, horticultural therapy, and ornamental crop production. Since 1960 John has also been involved with amateur gardening groups and, via Scottish Gardeners Forum, gives talks to local groups. From 1994 to 1997 he was Secretary of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society as well as for over forty years being the mainstay of Blackhall Horticultural Society.
  • Linda Evans
    Linda works for Sustrans Scotland which is a charity encouraging active travel. In 2017 she gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Level 2 certificate in the principles of horticulture, having studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. She has loved sharing her knowledge and passion for gardening with the It's Your Neighbourhood groups since becoming an assessor in 2016.
  • Penny Wright
    Penny has been working in the green collar industry for over twenty years, both here in Scotland and in the United States. After moving to the U.S.A. she became involved in community gardening projects as a way to meet new people; through these community projects she discovered her love of plants. Rather than return to her nursing career she embarked on her horticultural journey, fitting in horticultural work and courses around family life. She has worked in various roles within the horticultural field including landscaper, garden designer, landscape crew supervisor and retail. After moving back to the UK Penny embarked on a degree program at SRUC Edinburgh. After two years she joined the staff at the Edinburgh campus as a Horticultural Technician/Instructor, while she continued to study for her degree which she obtained in 2015. Penny is interested in sustainable practices within the green collar industry. Of particular interest to Penny is the use and design of native plants juxtaposed with non-native plants to create diverse planting schemes. Penny also has a passion for composting!
  • Peter Sandwell
    Peter works in the Environment Department of Dundee City Council. He is a Green Flag judge, heavily involved in the Bonnie Dundee entry into Beautiful Scotland, and has been an assessor for It's Your Neighbourhood for a number of years.
  • Sandra Anton
    Sandra works for West Dunbartonshire Council and has assessed for It's Your Neighbourhood for a number of years. She is involved in the Dalmuir Park Restoration project.
  • Sandra Maclennan
    Sandra has been judging for Beautiful Scotland for many years, and also assesses for It’s Your Neighbourhood. She is heavily involved in Forres in Bloom and is a retired head teacher.
  • Sara Smith
    Sara has been assessing for a numebr of years.
  • Sarah Turnill
    Sarah joined the list of assessors in 2014 and enjoyed her assessment visits so much she took on the challenge again. It can be a challenge juggling work and life, but meeting people and being shown round gardens, allotments, parks, and village streets is an inspiration. Sarah was a part of a group that achieved Outstanding for their woodland garden for Its Your Neighbourhood, so knows what the groups are going through. Sarah is a committee member for Dunbar in Bloom, which gained a Silver medal award at its first attempt in Beautiful Scotland in 2014. Sarah works as a senior nurse within East Lothian, is involved with the family farm in the Scottish Borders, enjoys visiting other people's gardens in the National garden scheme, tends her own herbaceous border and shows Jacob sheep at local agricultural shows in her spare time!
  • Steven Shaw
    Steven is the Environmental Manager at Aberdeen City Council. He is passionate about supporting community groups across Aberdeen in the Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood as he sees the campaigns as being very important to what the council does - and he loves being part of it! Aberdeen's 'in bloom' partner numbers are growing all the time and Steven sees this as key to the on-going success of the Environment Department's services. Steven joined the assessing team in 2015 - after encouraging most of his team to become judges or assessors, he thought it was high time he did the same!
  • Sue Steel
    Sue joined the assessing team in 2015. She is the contact for the Biodiversity Network.
  • Terry Stott
    Terry is a judge for Beautiful Scotland and an assessor for It's Your Neighbourhood. Terry worked with Aberdeen City Council in various positions within the Links and Parks, Leisure and Recreation, Contracting Services and finally as an Area Officer in Environmental Services involved in all aspects of Horticultural for 42 years. In this time Aberdeen was an entrant in Beautiful Scotland and Britain in Bloom winning various awards. Terry retired in 2010, and is now involved with Slopefield Allotments entry to Its Your Neighbourhood, and encouraging and assisting other groups in Aberdeen to become involved in Its Your Neighbourhood. He thinks it is good to get people involved in their neighbourhoods as it makes a huge difference to the area they live in. Terry has been a Beautiful Scotland Judge and an Its Your Neighbourhood Assessor for over six years now, meeting great people and seeing beautiful displays (sometimes the weather does not do its best for the community or judge on the day!). Terry grows annuals and herbaceous plants to exhibit at various Flower Shows; if he is not showing he judges 'Cut Flowers' at several Flower Shows in the area. Terry has been involved with the Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen for the past 26 years and Chairman from 2010 to 2013 - the society run a Spring and Summer show annually. In 2014 Terry received a Certificate of Merit from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society and in 2017 a Community Champion award from the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • Wendy Murray
    Wendy has a background in Public Service and has been a volunteer in her own community of East Haven for over 20 years. Wendy led on the East Haven 800 celebrations and has been heavily involved with Keep Scotland Beautiful's Beautiful Scotland campaign since 2014.
  • Wendy Henderson
    Wendy has been a keen gardener since childhood and was a founder member of Cove in Bloom. She helps run regular gardening workshops for the Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen in conjunction with Duthie Park for both adults and children, and has been Treasurer for the RHSA since 2009. She is now treasurer of the newly formed Cove Woodland Trust whose aim is to buy and maintain a tract of land for the community of Cove and Altens which will be formed into a community park and woodland. Wendy started assessing for It's Your neighbourhood in 2017 and enjoys meeting other groups, offering a helping hand where it is welcomed.
  • Ray Theedam Parry
    Ray joined the assessor team in 2021 seeing it as a great opportunity to meet like-minded people who give up their time caring about where they live and helping groups to achieve their deserved national recognition. Ray has been involved with her local In Bloom group since it began seven years ago and has been the judges guide for each of the five Keep Scotland Beautiful assessments – the first two were for It’s Your Neighbourhood before the group moved to the Beautiful Scotland awards. Having experienced being assessed for IYN, she can appreciate the behind-the-scenes efforts that go on in communities throughout the year and recognises the benefits of having an assessor visit to view your efforts from a fresh perspective. Amongst other things she is Chief Organiser, Fundraiser and Secretary for her local In Bloom group and is lucky enough to be able to garden most days.

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