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Train up with Mow and Grow

PUBLISHED: 21:23 23 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:29 05 July 2010

A GARDENING project, which started out as a neighbourhood watch scheme, has opened a horticultural training centre in Lowestoft.

Waveney Mow and Grow, headed up by Trevor Lynn, who lives in Carlton Colville, now has a base in Rotterdam Road which, in partnership with Suffolk County Council's social services department, has become an accredited assessment centre for the Open College Network (OCN).

A GARDENING project, which started out as a neighbourhood watch scheme, has opened a horticultural training centre in Lowestoft.

Waveney Mow and Grow, headed up by Trevor Lynn, who lives in Carlton Colville, now has a base in Rotterdam Road which, in partnership with Suffolk County Council's social services department, has become an accredited assessment centre for the Open College Network (OCN).

The link-up means Mow and Grow will be the only provider in the country to offer horticultural machinery OCN levels two and three qualifications, with its staff having also written the courses.

Mr Lynn, who has spent around a year taking the successful concept to other areas at home and abroad, said he had been working non-stop to bring Mow and Grow back to where it was piloted.

Speaking of the training centre, he said: “As a result, all our existing staff and trainee volunteers are offered free OCN training with us. We currently have 100 OCN courses up to level two free of charge for any potential volunteers available between now and September. These real qualifications can help people to gain real jobs with a real wage and while the volunteers train they get to help vulnerable people in the community.”

Over the last 12 months, Mow and Grow has gone from strength to strength, helping more than 580 in Norwich, reducing the fear of crime by around 85pc.

Following the success of the scheme in 2007, the city council has more than doubled the size of the contract from £20,000 to £50,000 to operate extra teams.

“We have recycled more than 500,000 litres of green waste, and our co-ordinators have qualified as master composters with the Garden Organic organisation. We have helped get 25 people back into work, and a further 10 into further education,” said Mr Lynn.

The team has an application in with Fairshare lottery to run a year-long pilot project in Lowestoft based on their Norwich model and they have also run a pilot scheme with the probation service, which was picked up by the National Offender Management Service in Westminster.

Other developments include two new members of staff for training and operations and an award for best practice, leading to other authorities making requests to replicate their model.

And on May 28, Waveney Mow and Grow is due to be filmed for a BBC documentary.

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