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Work is now underway at the site near Banchory
North-east charity The Seed Box has marked a “significant” step in its journey as construction work has started on its new gardening skills centre in Banchory.
The charity provides training and outdoor therapy to adults with additional support needs, referred to as co-workers.
Seed Box staff and co-workers are currently based within the walled garden at the Ballogie Estate near Aboyne.
But the charity unveiled its plans to open a second location in May as they had overgrown the site.
Councillors gave the proposal the go-ahead just four months later.
The plans show how the site will be developed
The new facility, located at Lochton of Leys, will allow the Seed Box to expand on the work and activities and provides for those it helps.
It will have planting and recreational areas for those who may benefit from therapeutic outdoor work.
A formal garden will be open for members of the public to visit, but it will also serve as an area for co-workers to learn new skills.
The new Banchory location will also feature a shop to sell goods grown on the site and office space for staff.
Co-workers help charity staff and volunteers grow everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to herbs and cut flowers.
They also craft items including bird houses and wooden trugs.
The centre will offer gardening training
The Seed Box provides crucial respite to the families and carers of the charity’s co-workers.
It is hoped that the charity’s increased services will enable more co-workers to progress into mainstream or sheltered employment.
Seed Box director, Belinda Rowlands, said the new site was a “significant step” on the charity’s journey.
“We reached the point where we needed to find a new site to allow us to grow and work with more co-workers,” she explained.
“The new site will provide an additional growing area and an onsite shop to allow us to increase our sales.”
Ms Rowlands added: “The Seed Box is extremely grateful for the support of Leys Estate and also a wide variety of local Trusts and funding bodies without which this project would not be possible.”
After spending some time with Belinda and chairman Guy Haslam, chief executive of the Leys Estate Group, David Smart, identified ground that matched the charity’s future aims.
He said it was “very rewarding” to see work start on the site.
“We look forward to working with The Seed Box to develop a facility which will enable the charity to meet the growing needs of its co-workers and those in their support network,” he added.
Construction work is expected to be complete by late summer, allowing the charity to prepare the site for the 2024 growing season.