Community gardens make-over comp with Dobbies of Lisburn

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The ‘Helping Your Community Grow’ shortlist has been announced by Dobbies’ garden centre in Lisburn and local residents are invited to cast their vote for their favourite horticultural project

Dobbies’ Lisburn store is inviting local residents to cast their vote and help the UK’s leading garden centre crown the Helping Your Community Grow winner for the store.

Seventy-five groups across the country have the chance to create or refresh a community space with Dobbies’ support, and the garden centre is now asking locals to help narrow its shortlist down, to one winner for its Lisburn store.

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This year’s initiative has welcomed nominations from schools looking to enhance their gardens; charities supporting the most vulnerable members of the community proposing sensory gardens; and community groups and clubs looking to create a garden space where they can grow their own fruit and vegetables.

Dobbies employees Margo Hodgson and Dougal Mile, from HuntingdonDobbies employees Margo Hodgson and Dougal Mile, from Huntingdon
Dobbies employees Margo Hodgson and Dougal Mile, from Huntingdon

Stepping Stones NI have recently set up a Horticultural Wellbeing Centre in Lisburn to work with adults who experience learning disabilities and difficulties, autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and those that suffer from poor mental health to help gain training, qualifications and employment.

The project hopes to grow flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs with Dobbies’ support, using sustainable practices and products.

The Duncairn is a community hub, a shared creative space and a refuge for everyone in the Belfast community.

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With Dobbies’ initiative, this charity hopes to gain expert advice from the horticultural team on how they can elevate their gardening space, alongside supplying them with benches for community members to enjoy, essential tools, bird feeders, an insect hotel and pollinator friendly plants.

Green Spaces Growing Project creates a welcoming space, where people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds can come together to participate in creative nature-based health and wellbeing activities.

The Green Spaces Growing Project consists of an amazing group of mostly older volunteers, some have limited abilities or are carers and the community garden makeovers is their haven from the everyday stresses of life, an oasis of calm and peace in nature.

The team are calling on Dobbies’ support to help them create another community garden makeover with a pond area, sensory plant trail and a seating space for visitors to relax and enjoy.

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There was a notable increase in the number of entries from groups looking to grow their own this year.

This follows research from Dobbies and Censuswide (commissioned in March) that found 65% of people in Belfast plan to grow their own fresh produce this spring.

Tomatoes and strawberries are set to be the most popular crop for this year.

The winning group for Lisburn will receive advice, gardening products and plants from Dobbies’ horticultural team.

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Dobbies’ own-brand peat-free multipurpose compost, recycled and recyclable containers, UK-sourced plants and safer pest control products are among the many products the garden centre will donate.

Notably, the project that receives the most votes from all Dobbies stores will be the national winner, receiving extra funding and support.

Graeme Jenkins, CEO of Dobbies said: "We were overwhelmed with the response to our Helping Your Community Grow initiative and have seen a significant increase in nominations, with over 800 applications for 2023.

“A huge thank you to everyone who nominated their project for our Dobbies’ Lisburn store to support.

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"It’s now up to the public to select the winner – our Lisburn team are very much looking forward to seeing who this will be.”

To find out more about the Helping Your Community Grow shortlist and to cast your vote, visit Helping Your Community Grow | Dobbies Garden Centres.

Votes are open until Tuesday April 25.

There is only one vote per person.

The project with the most votes will be the winner.

The project with the most votes across the UK will be the national winner.

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