Volunteer Award 2023 Nominee – Sally Twiss and Susie Thorne

Nominated for: Works for a CGT to reach new audiences to encourage interest and/or involvement in garden history

Twin aims of improving their website and social media presence has been achieved by twin members of Somerset Garden Trust (SGT), Sally Twiss and Susie Thorne.

Susie explained “Redoing the website had been talked about by the SGT Council for some years, but nothing had been done and then I thought of getting my sister Sally involved, with her experience of websites and garden writing. We started from scratch and decided that, as well as promoting all the SGT’s work and attracting new members, we would use the website to showcase the wonderful historic gardens open to the public in Somerset.”  Sally points out that “As sisters we could happily disagree with each other and many discussions took place. Our aim was to make the website attractive and inviting, informative and easy to use.”

Somerset Gardens Trust Chair Diana Hebditch explains: “As those of you who have done this know, the design is only part of the process, the checking and rechecking of the web contractor’s work is time-consuming and at times tedious.  Susie and Sally sourced the pictures and obtained permissions to promote both Somerset and the SGT.  The text was wholly rewritten with input from the experts within our organisation.  All this work was done in the most positive, pleasant and determined way.”

“Secondly, we decided we wanted to make the SGT known to a wider audience through social media.  Sally is now running the Twitter account and Susie co-ordinates the posts on our Instagram page, both of which are now linked to our website. They ask members for photographs taken at fundraising activities, to show what fun being a member can be, while reinforcing our aims relating to garden history and projects in schools.”

As a result, SGT’s Instagram followers have gone up to 680 this year from 284, and the SGT Chair also reports intangible benefits of their work: “positive vibes about SGT throughout our activities and the availability of easy to access information on our website.”