In This Issue
RHS licensing a stepping stone to success for Kelkay
Planting the seeds for Christmas
"Garden Centre of the Future" planned for new outlet retail centre at Downtown Grantham
Christmas outsells growing media in October - it's a first
Tong centre's customer service earns a White Rose award
Grange commits to advanced pressure treatment on all timber products
Smart Garden Products expands export team
Garden centre to train special needs students
Capel Manor students wins cash for Regents Park plant design project
Ready,'s potato pot time
Kent & Stowe Garden Life cultivates incremental sales
The Pied Piper of Melville - GTN's interview with Nicholas Marshall
EU D-day for glyphosate is next Thursday
Ireland’s Fast Grow targets 250 UK retailers 
Top 5 plant best-sellers increase share of sales
ICL to promote learning as HTA's Nursery Supply Show partner
Angels and chocolate sprouts push up Christmas sales
GCA launches search for marketing champion
First frosts see fleece and pot feet sales surge
New lightweight planters from Haddonstone
It's an October low for growing activity
Geoff gets growing his tash again for Hereford hospice
The best of last week's
Wyevale Garden Centres invest in new EPOS
Bunnings - Homebase - sales drop by £44m
Squire’s given ‘Best Garden Centre’ accolade by The Express
Glyphosate: back on a knife edge
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Garden centre to train special needs students


A social enterprise based near Dorchester that supports students with learning disabilities and special education needs has taken over Thorngrove Garden Centre in Gillingham, Dorset, with the aim of using it as a training centre.


Employ My Ability says it will start work next month on regenerating the site and introduce training for post-16 special educational needs (SEN) students. A new café is planned for next year.


The Scope charity currently runs the centre as a special needs day care business, with 12 staff and 18 day service users, all of whom will continue under the new ownership.


Employ My Ability started out in The Walled Garden in Moreton in 2014 when its three founding partners set out to change SEN education experience locally. It provides ‘real life, real work experiences’ for students who gain skills, training and qualifications in the gardens, café, garden centre shop, small plant nursery, kitchen gardens and small animal area. The organisation currently has 30 SEN students accessing the site in Moreton. Courses include catering, retail, admin, horticulture and animal care.


Managing director Steve White said: “We are really excited to have been able to purchase the site and secure the future of the centre for the staff, its service users and members of the public.”

He added: “We are working with the all staff and service users at Thorngrove and are in the planning stages of a big redevelopment of the site. This will all start with the new café and spruce up of the site.


“We are looking forward to welcoming students on vocational courses from September 2018 and already have had several referrals for courses here.


Thorngrove Garden Centre growers remain busy cultivating plants for all year round plants sales and during the renovation work the centre will remain open to its service users and visiting members of the public for plant and gift sales.


For information about Employ My Ability call Steve White on 01929 405685 or email him,


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