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GROW: Open for business!

GROW: Open for business!

Wednesday 07 February 2024

GROW: Open for business!

Wednesday 07 February 2024

The new cafe at Grow - run by chef James Ferguson who is training the crew members - has opened to the public with a busy first day.

The training cafe is being used by Grow to develop new skills, as part of the charity's move away from being wholly focused on horticulture.

In the foreground of the revamped facility at Les Coutanchez, the cafe will offer light bites prepared and served by Grow crew members, overseen by Mr Ferguson. 

Elsewhere in the Grow campus there is work ongoing to create a retail space, while plants are due to arrive this week ahead of the busy season for the horticultural team.


Pictured: Grow's new retail space is being developed and will shortly be open to the public.

Grow "supports adults with learning disabilities and difficulties in developing self-confidence and life skills".

It is also now extending its support to other charities and organisations, particularly those with a similar remit to its own.

The multi-million pound fundraising campaign the charity embarked on in 2022 saw £3,500,000 raised which has paid for the total redevelopment of Grow's headquarters at Les Coutanchez. 

By reconfiguring the space available and creating new facilities, the charity has much more space for its horticultural work, and a new workshop, art room, and IT training suite as well as the cafe, and staff facilities including bathrooms, kitchen, canteen, and quiet spaces.

There are also offices which can be rented out by other charities, as well as 'hot desk' facilities, and board rooms and training facilities available for hire. 


Pictured: Grow's facilities now offer many advantages which the charity wants to share with other organisations.

The first to take advantage of the community hub being built up at Grow HQ is Wigwam.

Susie Gallienne of the charity had been working out of her spare bedroom at home for five years, with a lack of storage space and no room for confidential meetings, until Grow invited her to take on one of their new offices.

"It is infinitely better," she said. "It's quiet, friendly, and just the right size."

Showing Express around her new office, Mrs Gallienne explained how she has created a working area around her desk, with a comfortable seating area created with furniture bought from other local charities.

Depending on the meetings she is likely to have she can hold them in her office, with the door closed offering privacy, or she can take guests to the communal kitchen area or to the library which will have both formal and informal seating areas when the work in there is finished.

"The great thing about this is sometimes people are emotional and you don't want to be doing that (meeting) in public spaces," Mrs Gallienne said.

"It's just a really nice facility and it's got a really nice atmosphere."


Pictured: Susie Gallienne's new office gives her a working space and room to meet with any guests.

There are other benefits too for any charity or organisation taking on one of the hot desks or offices to rent, she said, with storage and parking as well as rooms available to hire for activities like yoga.

"it's just fantastic, not just for now but for the next fifty years," she said.

Included in the rent for co-locating charities such as Wigwam is use of the training and board rooms, the canteen for a nominal charge, and free use of the library and kitchen as well as out of hours access.

The training room can seat 120 people 'conference style', with other smaller meeting rooms available for hire too.

There is also a membership scheme - which the Health Improvement Commission is the first to sign up to - for £300 which buys 10 tokens to exchange for room hire.

Marguerite Talmage - a Grow director - said: "In time, it is going to be a really good community space."

Grow CEO Karen Blanchford said "there is no waiting list" so Grow is open to chat to any interested charities or organisations.

"We've had quite a lot of interest but not secured yet. There's only three rooms left, which is great. We're also going to have one room that will have a hot desk so anyone that just wants literally a space, and there's been real interest too in what we call the charity members. For £300 they sign up, they get 10 tokens, and they can use the training room, the board room, the library, So yeah, it's a really exciting time and it's great that the facility that obviously has been provided by the community can be accessed by so many more people. It would be a really exciting time for people to move in and make use of it."

Anyone interested in finding out more about accommodation and room hire should contact Grow by email or by calling 711600.


Charity Highlights: GROW

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