Social enterprise Growing Places is going places with land gift

The team at Growing Places getting ready to work on the new land at Claydon.

The team at Growing Places getting ready to work on the new land at Claydon. - Credit: Archant

Claydon-based enterprise Growing Places is expanding its social business with an extra half acre of land donated by a local company.

With a team of around 60 people – 45 of whom are on therapeutic placements – Growing Places is part of the award-winning Ipswich based social enterprise Realise Futures, which specialises in helping people in the Eastern region who are disabled and disadvantaged with a range of employment services.

Growing Places operates on a 1.5-acre site in Old Ipswich Road, off the A14. The team cultivates seasonal produce and vegetables which are sold in vegetable boxes, delivered to around 200 customers from Felixstowe through to Bury St Edmunds.

They also sell willow work and honey produced by bees housed in Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds, where the company has a nursery and social cafe.

Now Growing Places can expand its operation and offer more work opportunities thanks to the donation of an additional half an acre of land – located just behind Growing Places - by Binders, the environmentally-responsible liquid waste management company which has offices near the social business.

Director of enterprises for Realise Futures, Dean Willingham, said: “We are very grateful to Binders for donating this extra land to Growing Places. The land is uncultivated and has been left fallow and unused for years, but it is very fertile and we could grow almost anything there.”

Marina Babi?, enterprise manager of Growing Places, added: “It will make a big difference to Growing Places in that we will able to grow much more of our own produce and provide work for more people. We will need to get the ground ploughed and work out what we can grow, but it is a fantastic addition to our business.”

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Richard Binder, director of Binders, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Growing Places as we think the work they do to help people who are disabled and disadvantaged is wonderful.

“This piece of land was surplus to our requirements and we were only too pleased to be able to help a local business with a social purpose. We are looking forward to tasting some of the produce they will grow on the land.”

Growing Places is one of six social businesses in Suffolk run by Realise Futures. All the profits generated by Realise Futures’ social enterprises – based in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Woodbridge and Felixstowe - get ploughed back into the business to create more jobs and learning opportunities.

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