Reading residents have until 29 August to vote for their favourite local community gardening project to receive support from garden centre retailer Dobbies.
Three community projects in Reading have been chosen by team members at the Reading Dobbies store, to make the shortlist for Helping Your Community Grow, Dobbies’ landmark community support initiative. The scheme, launched earlier this year, aims to work with existing groups to create 69 new or revamped green spaces around the UK, one for each of its mainline stores.
The three Reading projects have been shortlisted are Loddon Court Farm Park Homes, Thrive Horticultural Therapy and Brookfields Special School, Brookfields Market Garden.
The final choice is now down to local residents, as they are encouraged to have their say and vote for their favourite.
Loddon Court Farm Park Homes is a residential park home site for retired and semi-retired residents. Many are elderly and housebound or have limited mobility, so the park home site is requesting help from Dobbies to brighten up the communal garden and make it a bright space for residents to enjoy.
Thrive Horticultural Therapy uses gardening as therapy for people with a range of conditions, such as dementia, learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues. The centre use lots of compost and plants each year, as their clients have individual plots of land where they can choose what they would like to grow. Thrive would greatly benefit from Dobbies' help in providing tools, seeds and plants for the clients to use in their gardening activities.
Brookfields School has launched Brookfields Market Garden, a small market garden project for students with moderate to severe learning difficulties. The students are learning how to sow and grow sustainable and nutritious seasonal fruit and vegetables. The project helps the students to build life skills such as confidence and teamwork and it also improves their literacy, numeracy and communication skills as well as improving their physical and mental wellbeing. The school is asking for help from Dobbies with gardening tools, horticultural and practical expertise, tips on designing packaging and labels to promote the enterprise and volunteering if staff would like to get involved with the project.
Graeme Jenkins, CEO of Dobbies, said: “Through Helping Your Community Grow, Dobbies is delighted to be supporting so many gardening projects in the areas around our stores. It’s a landmark initiative for us and we are so proud to be helping so many community projects across the country to create a green space that benefits their local area.
“The team at our Reading Dobbies store understand the needs of their neighbourhood and have chosen three extremely deserving projects for the Reading community to choose from. We’re very much looking forward to finding out the results of the public vote, and we’re excited to help the winning project achieve its aims in the months to come.”
The winning Reading project will receive support from Dobbies, including products, equipment and team support from the staff at the Reading Dobbies store, to help them create a green space that the local community can be proud of. The project with the most votes, from all areas across the UK, will be the national winner and receive additional support from Dobbies.
The public vote is now live and will close on 29 August. The winners will be announced in September.
Established in 1865, Dobbies is now one of the UK’s largest garden centre retailers, with 73 stores.