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Lowestoft garden business blooms

PUBLISHED: 10:40 03 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:41 06 July 2010

A LOWESTOFT gardening business has expanded tenfold in just a year, attracting an official nod from the government.

Waveney Mow and Grow started life just under three years ago when chief executive Trevor Lynn decided to set up a neighbourhood watch scheme where he lives in Carlton Colville.

A LOWESTOFT gardening business has expanded 10 fold in just a year, attracting an official nod from the government.

Waveney Mow and Grow started life just under three years ago when chief executive Trevor Lynn decided to set up a neighbourhood watch scheme where he lives in Carlton Colville.

But now their success has led to volunteers becoming employees, while MP Jack Straw has highlighted the social enterprise as a model for other UK projects.

This week Mr Lynn announced a further progression into chainsaw tree surgery, with the aim to offer volunteers free training … thought to be a first in this country.

He said: “Last year we had just two staff, but we've now employed 10 of our volunteers over the last 12 months. We predict we're going to employ another 12 this year, at least.”

All volunteers are trained in courses in horticultural machinery from ride on mowers to chainsaws.

The company's sister schemes include Catering and Grow, Learn and Grow, and Trade and Grow.

“We will move into mechanics when they get a chance to breathe,” added Mr Lynn.

The scheme was recently visited by Mr Straw, who is the government's Secretary for Justice, who highlighted Mow and Grow as a best practice model for UK probation services to replicate.

The scheme will also be offering a free gardening and tree surgery service this May for up to 240 vulnerable people.

Alex Cosgrove, training manager said: “We think this will be the UK's first ever free tree surgery service. We're delighted to be a UK first and hope the rest of the country recognises Lowestoft as an innovative social initiative.”

Mow and Grow operates in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and is now moving into Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

So far this year they have been presented with a raft of awards, including Greenest Business (Suffolk) 2009, The Norfolk Waster Partnership Award 2009 and the High Sheriff Crime beat Award 2009.

To become a volunteer visit www.mowandgrow.org.uk

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