Lottery funding to help prison tools scheme reach more garden centres

The Conservation Foundation's Tools Shed project is going national, and thanks to £240,000 funding over three years from the Big Lottery's Reaching Communities and the charity is inviting garden centres to become involved in the community recycling initiative.

Tools Shed works with prisons to restore broken and unwanted garden hand tools which are then given free to local schools and community gardens. It’s already well established at Wandsworth, Dartmoor and Edinburgh Prisons and the Big Lottery funding will enable the project to extend to HMP’s Garth (Leyland), Norwich, Hatfield (Doncaster) and Featherstone (West Midlands).

There are permanent tool collection points in the areas surrounding Wandsworth – it’s been running there for 12 years -  Dartmoor and Edinburgh Prison.

Such places as RHS Wisley and Rosemoor, the Eden Project, Neal’s Nurseries, New Hopetoun Gardens, Otter Nurseries are keen supporters, as well as at local authority recycling centres.

Wyevale Garden Centres' Tools for Change initiative saw thousands of tools collected in all the company’s 149 stores last summer, which were given away to schools and community groups this July having been restored in prison workshops.

As well as the transformative effect of Tools Shed in prisons, the project works for the garden centres to improve sustainability and community involvement. Schools and groups benefit from receiving free tools too.

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