Green initiative launched as concern for the environment grows

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A new initiative has been launched across Mansfield and Ashfield that aims to recycle offcuts of wood, help learners learn new skills, teach young people to grow their own food, and cut food poverty.

The ambitious Gardens of Giving is a Community Interest Company set up by a group of people including Ashfield entrepreneur Kieran Percival and his mother Helen Leeson, his business partner Sarah Armson, businessman Martin Rigley OBE, and ATTFE College principal Liz Barrett OBE.

The idea is for Gardens of Giving to collect scrap wood and disperse it to schools, colleges or community groups whose learners then turn it into planters.

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The planters will then be donated, with seeds, to a range of settings, such as schools or business premises, so that food stuffs can be grown.

Chris Wynne (left), Trade Tutor at Portland College,  collecting wood offcuts from Kieran Percival.Chris Wynne (left), Trade Tutor at Portland College,  collecting wood offcuts from Kieran Percival.
Chris Wynne (left), Trade Tutor at Portland College, collecting wood offcuts from Kieran Percival.

The people who grow items can use the food, but a percentage of the produce will then be given back to Gardens of Giving to distribute to local food banks.

It also planned that some seeds will be collected from vegetables and fruits so that more food can be grown the following year.

Kieran Percival, who is a director at Doorcerts Manufacturing and at Fire Door Specialists in Stanton Hill, said: “There are many strands to what we are doing, but the idea is all about community and giving back.

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“Wood can be recycled and so waste is reduced, learners can create planters as part of their lessons, people can learn to grow their own food, and local people can have a better environment in which to live and work.”

And he added: “We think giving back is the right thing to do and we are in a position to help.”

Martin Rigley, a highly-experienced businessman and well-known figure across both Mansfield and Ashfield, said: “There are many challenges within our community, food poverty being at the top of the list.

“The Gardens of Giving concept appeals to me not only in the ways it can play a part in addressing food poverty but also in how it will inspire young people to grow and use the food they have grown.

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“I like how it links together with recycling materials that would normally be classed as waste, providing work experience for students and engaging older members of our community with all the mental well-being benefits it brings. It will have an impact on so many fronts.”

Anyone who wants to help Gardens of Giving should contact Kieran using [email protected]. For more information, visit