The site on Wynyard Park has been nurtured by service users from Stockton Borough Council’s Allensway Centre in Thornaby.
Beetroot, lettuce, spinach, chard, spring onions, potatoes, courgettes, squash, sweet corn, radishes and turnips are just some of the vegetables now being turned out.
It’s all a far cry from last year when Wynyard Park Ltd, owners of the 700-acre business park on Teesside, issued an appeal for an organisation to take over the uneven plot behind its Wynyard Park House HQ which was overgrown with grass and weeds.
Anna Stone, Facilities Co-ordinator at Wynyard Park, said: “The transformation of the site into a well-managed, thriving market garden in such a short space of time has been truly remarkable, and it is down to the hard work and commitment of the service users from the Allensway Centre.
“They have spent countless hours preparing the land, planting seeds and nurturing their plants through the awful summer weather to the point where we are already harvesting some of the fruit and vegetables for use in our popular in-house Java Café bistro in Wynyard Park House.”
Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “The market garden project has given service users from Allensway the opportunity to nurture a plot of land. Their dedication has not gone unnoticed with a once-overgrown plot now looking lush and green.
“Staff and users at the centre are grateful to Wynyard Park for providing this opportunity – the service users have gained so much from working in the garden. For some, the garden provides a therapeutic area that they can simply visit and enjoy, while for others it provides opportunities to get involved in growing produce and developing new skills and confidence in the process.”
Wynyard Park funded the initial clearance of the site which it is allowing the Allensway Centre to run rent-free, and young people from the Prince’s Trust training programme at Stockton Riverside College, helped prepare the land for cultivation, including creating raised vegetable beds.
The site even boasts a wooden shed and a poly tunnel.
Wynyard Park has since paid for a boundary fence to keep rabbits out of the garden and a whole host of other organisations, companies and individuals have since supported the project, including Tristar Homes, Stockton Borough Council’s Care For Your Area, Wilkinson’s, B and M, Jewson’s, Councillor Derek Brown from Thornaby and the Shaw Trust.
There are now plans to develop the garden still further through the creation of a sensory herb garden.