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Grow redevelopment enters final stage of fundraising

Grow redevelopment enters final stage of fundraising

Tuesday 01 February 2022

Grow redevelopment enters final stage of fundraising

Tuesday 01 February 2022


A campaign is underway to raise the final £1million needed to complete Grow's new greenhouse site.

The charity hopes its project will help people with learning disabilities to secure training opportunities for decades to come.

Express' sister publication - Connect magazine - is partnering with Grow throughout the year to report on progress on its landmark development and support its ambitious fundraising effort. 

Two years ago, Grow directors set an initial fundraising target of £3million to demolish the old greenhouses at their Coutanchez site and replace them with modern structures.

The halfway point of fundraising was reached at the beginning of October 2021. Contractors then took over the site and Grow moved its operations to a temporary site in Oatlands Lane.

Speaking to Express, Grow Director Marguerite Talmage said the charity has already raised £2million of the funds necessary for the redevelopment. It hopes to raise the remaining £1million by the end of this year.

“We’re going to talk to people who are members of the community who we feel will be willing to support us and then we will be going out to the public,” said Mrs Talmage.

“We’ve been very fortunate with Guy and Julia Hands who are redevelopment project patrons … and they have given a lot of other people the confidence to support the project as well.”

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Pictured: Marguerite Talmage, a Director of Grow, is urging businesses and other organisations to consider donating to the charity's redevelopment project by purchasing required items and materials from ‘shopping lists’. 

Mrs Talmage and her colleagues are drawing up ideas to encourage the public to become involved in the fundraising effort. At present, the focus is on recruiting the support of local businesses and other organisations to help with published ‘shopping lists’, which contain items needed for the project.

"Maybe fixtures, equipment or appliances," she said. "Something they can actually choose off the shopping list ranging from £100 to £5000. In terms of major fundraising, we’ve got a shopping list again and that ranges from £5000 up to £200,000.”

Greenhouses which had stood for years are now making way for modern facilities to provide a new future for the Grow crew (as attendees are known). The new structures will provide unique training opportunities in a range of occupational skills, such as horticulture, retail, hospitality, carpentry and metal work.

The project is now in the hands of building contractor BW Builders who, working with subcontractors, have razed the greenhouses and associated buildings in preparation for the new buildings to be erected.

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Pictured: Groundwork is underway to erect a two-storey building with significantly enhanced facilities.

A new Facilities Centre will be housed in a two-storey steel-framed building. The structural steelwork is due for delivery early in February.

On the ground floor, the Facilities Centre will house a fully-equipped gym to aid physical fitness, the crew cafeteria and a quiet room.

A workshop providing training in carpentry, metalwork, paintwork and crafts will occupy roughly one-quarter of the building. It will sit adjacent to a retail training area, which will help equip the crew with skills and confidence to interact with customers and sell more products made on the site.

Training rooms, offices and a small laundrette will occupy part of the first floor, which will be reached by a disabled access lift.

Other areas will be made available to like-minded charities seeking security of tenure with the aim of creating a disability hub.

Mrs Talmage said a gym was included in the plans because “fitness and wellbeing is very important - it’s all part of the life skills and life package that we want to be able to develop for our crew".

The building which will be most visible from the road will house a new hospitality and retail training centre, which will operate as a training café available to visitors to Grow. The crew will learn food preparation and front of house skills.    

Initially, the café will serve only members of the crew and their friends and families. In due course, it will be open to the public.

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Pictured: Work to create a new hospitality and retail training centre is well underway with a view to serving food and drinks to visitors to the site, both indoors and outdoors.

“The café will have seating for 24 customers and in front of it there will be a sensory garden which will be nice to go and sit in,” said Mrs Talmage.

“The whole of the hospitality unit will be staffed by crew with professional training support, but that will be helping to give them the skills and experience to work in the commercial sectors. Hospitality is calling out for staff.”

Sam Winterflood, one of the crew at Grow for the past five years, expressed excitement to Express about the major redevelopment to his workplace.

The transition to the temporary site at Oatlands had been smooth, but Mr Winterflood said: “I think everyone will be happy when we move back here".

He said "the café is one of my biggest excitements" and expressed a desire to work in the café, helping to serve coffee.

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Pictured: Crew member Sam Winterflood in front of the groundwork to establish a new Facilities Centre.

Mr Winterflood said the Facilities Centre would cater for many of the day-to-day needs of the crew. And he said the new workshop will allow he and his colleagues to produce items such as “bird boxes and bird houses - things that we actually made in the old carpentry area".

Angus Bodman, Project Director, is in talks with local suppliers who are keen to support the project. 

“Aside from donations from private individuals, charitable trusts and corporations, the generous support of local commercial undertakings - including Stan Brouard, Norman Piette, Ronez, R&H Plant, T&G Engineers, Paul Vaudin Architects, NAS Laboratories and many others - has been fundamental to the cost-effective and timely execution of this project," said Mr Bodman.

Ms Talmage thanked the generosity of supporters who have allowed the charity to reach two-thirds of its fundraising target.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped us reach this stage in the project. We certainly couldn’t have done it without their generosity and practical support," she said.

"Now we reach out to the people of Guernsey to help us raise the final £1million and guarantee our plans for the future become a reality."

To find out more about how you can help support this project, please contact Stuart Perfitt on 07781 468318, Marguerite Talmage on 07911 719081 or Acting General Manager Jess Aughton on 721865 or email redevelopment@grow.gg 

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