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Gazette Write Up 10th November 2010

Dig It Projects shortlisted for national award

Nov 10 2010 by Laura Woodcock, Evening Gazette
A TEESSIDE business has been short-listed for a national award for bringing allotments into schools.
Dig It Projects, a Saltburn-based landscaping business which designs and installs allotment gardens that schools can then use to educate their pupils, was set up by Richard Smith in August 2008. Since then, the company has completed over 70 school allotment projects and has just been unveiled as a finalist in the Green Business category of the Startups Awards 2010.
Richard said: “When we started, I was running a normal landscaping company.
“Then Redcar & Cleveland Council approached me to put in an allotment garden at a local school and it was brought out of that.
“That was just over two years ago. Since then we have done about 70 schools.”
To further expand the business, Dig It Projects also offer a range of other services including workshops, lesson plans and garden maintenance.
Richard said: “We offer a complete package designed to suit each school.
“We design and install gardens and then offer workshops in or out of school time with the parents being able to access them as well.
“We have also started offering lesson plans for teachers to follow in the classroom which has been approved by Ofsted.”
Richard, who employs two part-time workers and three full-time staff, added: “A lot of the benefits are not just the obvious ones such as being healthy and eating fresh produce, but schools can also link this to other subjects.
“It is a new concept of learning to not only get allotments into school but to link them into other subjects such as biology and math’s.
“I never expected it to take off like it has done.
“So far, we have won two other awards and now we are thrilled to be a finalist in the Green Business category and very much look forward to the awards ceremony in December.”