Prison helps garden get tools revamp
GARDENERS working to restore the Victorian Walled Gardens at Maristow, near Roborough, recently received two bundles of donated second-hand tools.
So far, so ordinary – but the tools, accepted by Jenny Tunley Price, the driving force behind the restoration of the three-acre garden, had been refurbished by prisoners at HMP Dartmoor.
The tools were delivered by Richard Leatherby, local coordinator of the Tool Shed project, which is run in prison workshops throughout the UK by environmental charity The Conservation Foundation.
The project is intended to serve environmental needs while also giving prisoners a sense of purpose while inside, and helping them into employment after release.
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Lindsay Swan, from the Conservation Foundation, said: "The Tool Shed project was set up as a pilot about six years ago to give work and skills to prisoners, and to provide schools and community initiatives with tools that they otherwise often can't afford".
The charity relies on unusable or unwanted tool donations from the public, with the Tool Shed's website offering an answer to "the gardener's perennial dilemma - what to do with tools that are too broken to use but too good to throw away"?
Steve Ball, Dartmoor prison's Industry and Environmental Manager, said: "HMP Dartmoor is proud to be involved with The Conservation Foundation on the garden tool recycling programme.
"This very imaginative project will give offenders the opportunity to learn new skills which could benefit them upon release, and also fits in with our sustainable development agenda.
"Offenders will be making a very positive contribution to some very worthy causes within the community at the same time."
Lindsay also emphasised the rehabilitation potential, calling the initiative a way for offenders who often feel at odds with local people to 'have a connection with the community'.
She then reflected on the ethos of the Foundation, adding: "It gives opportunities for people to become involved and engaged in our environment.
"We can all do something to improve the environment we live in".
If you would like to donate your old tools, drop off points are available at the Eden Project, the Otter Nurseries garden centres in Plymouth and Ottery St. Mary, and other locations in Devon and Cornwall.
Refurbished tools are given away free to schools and community gardens, contact email@example.com for more details.