Growing veg, growing lives

Derventio Housing Trust’s Growing Lives project has received a donation of topsoil so they can grow their own veg.
The soil has been given by Alfreton based Leedale Ltd who dropped off 8 tonnes of it.
Growing Lives is an Ilkeston-based activities project run by the housing trust which provides people in its properties, and referred there via other services, with communal activities such as woodworking, craft, walks and gardening, with the aim of creating a supportive, caring environment and helping them get back on their feet again.
Penny Wiltshire, funding and development manager at Derventio Housing Trust, who was introduced to Leedale through their work with Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust, said: “It just goes to show that through creating valuable networks we can work together to provide projects like Growing Lives with resources that they really need. There is so much goodwill in the world, not to mention resourcefulness, which is how this topsoil donation has come about!
“I’d like to thank Oliver Walkup from Leedale along with all the organisations who helped make this happen including Long Eaton Rotary, Erewash Borough Council and Marketing Derby.”
Wayne Rodgers, who has been helped by Derventio Housing Trust and is a regular at Growing Lives – which provided him with his first ever holiday in 2022 when he was 54 – said: “Growing Lives is a place where you can relax and forget about your problems. You’re kept so busy here you haven’t got time to think about what’s going on in your life. This place is in my blood, I feel part of the furniture!”
Rachael Tomlin, a tutor at Growing Lives, said: “The garden soil is mainly sub soil and we have been working very hard to grow a lot of things here. We have struggled and it was mentioned that we could really do with some topsoil.
“Thanks to this donation we can now grow all the lovely produce that we have planned for this site! We’re hoping to grow courgettes, carrots, we have got lettuces, radishes, tomatoes, potatoes and beans. Everything we grow, we’ll be putting in meals we’re cooking.”
Another Derventio Housing Trust resident, Garry Welsh, said he enjoyed being in the garden having spent time outdoors with his family at a younger age.
He said: “Coming to Growing Lives gives me something to wake up in the morning for. I’ve not really grown anything since I was younger. It makes me feel brilliant here.”
Ben Hammond, head of business development at Leedale Ltd, said: “At Leedale we are proud to support charities and organisations as and where we can and when Derventio explained this cause to us, it was the least we could do.
“Hearing the story behind what the donation was going to support, it was a no brainer for us to get involved in such a great cause. The whole team at Derventio is great to deal with and it’s a pleasure to be able to support them.”


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