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Soil success as Eco donation helps Dragons’ Den winner

Soil turned to success when a community garden project helped by a Dorset company won an innovation competition.

Space for Growth was declared the winner of a Dragons’ Den contest organised by Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust.

Parley-based Eco Sustainable Solutions donated 18 tonnes of its compost enriched topsoil – Eco Super Soil – to the project in the grounds of St Ann’s Hospital in Poole.

Going for growth: Peter Hardy, Commercial Director, Eco Sustainable Solutions (left) and Sally Spencer, Business Account Handler (second left) with Gaby Morris and the Reverend Mike Oates of Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust. 

Four raised beds designated for vegetables, herbs and flowers were created with space between them for wheelchair access. Patients were involved in planting out the beds and, subsequently, watering and weeding.

Gaby Morris, the Trust’s Organisational Development Project Support Officer, said research had shown patient recovery rates improved with social interaction and outdoor activities such as gardening.

She added: “Space for Growth has been a fantastic project with endless benefits, from encouraging walking in a natural setting to developing skills and providing a lovely picturesque group of raised beds.

“We’re really grateful to Eco Sustainable Solutions for so generously donating the top soil but also to everyone who worked on the project, especially our chaplain, the Reverend Mike Oates, occupational therapist Mel Harding, nurse Alison Rose and local volunteer Babs Plumbridge.”

A total of 26 project proposals were submitted by Trust staff for the Dragons’ Den contest. A final four were shortlisted and pitched to a panel of ‘dragons’, with Space for Growth awarded funding for development. A garden party was held in the grounds of St Ann’s Hospital to mark the success of the project.

Peter Hardy, Commercial Director, Eco Sustainable Solutions, said his company was delighted to help.

He added: “It’s always good to be able to put something back into the community and if we can help a worthy cause, as on this occasion, then we’re only too delighted.”

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