Update from Digwell Nursery

Over the past twelve months the staff team and students have worked hard to build on the past successes of the Centre in order to appeal to a wider audience of customers and attract those who had not previously heard of the Centre, with the intention that the Centre can be self-funding and offer a greater range of facilities and services for vulnerable people and the wider community. Following a period of research, it was found,for example, that in the local community of Welwyn and Hatfield, there were few places for small children to’ let off steam’ in safe, peaceful and easily accessible surroundings and no where with free entry or parking. The Centre addressed this and developed a purpose-built play area for small children, which in the few months since it opened has proved a huge success.   A new coffee shop has made a welcoming area for all, but in particular residents of the local nursing home, whose daily visits there have become a regular part of their day.   A re-launch event was organised to publicise the new areas of the Centre and increase the number of customers and plant sales. ‘happygardeners.org’ was launched to promote the appeal of gardening and offer information about the Centre and its facilities. The event was covered by local radio station, Hertbeat FM, with a live broadcast from the Centre. Renovation of the Centre was aided by the National Probation Services and Community Payback. The offenders under the scheme, worked hard as part of their service, renovating pathways, weeding, moving plants and laying slabs onto the new allotment area. As well as the Community Payback team, the Centre’s partnership with North Hertfordshire College New Deal Placement Scheme continues, offering works and skills experience to those who are recently or long-term employed. The most recent group of placements were a great asset to the permanent staff team during the busiest period of the year and throughout the re-launch period.  

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