The Great Garden Tool Giveaway

Wandsworth Prison is the unlikely venue for the Great Garden Tool Giveaway, organised by The Conservation Foundation’s Tools Shed project and HMP Wandsworth.

On Saturday 3rd October, over 100 children, parents, staff and gardeners, from more than 60 schools and community gardens all over the capital, will gather at Clark House ñ the prison staff training school ñ to collect ‘tool starter packs’ and watering cans for their gardens. The young visitors will also have a chance to be guided round the fascinating exhibits in the Prison Museum and get a sense of life inside’.

The old and unwanted garden tools, which were donated by garden centres and local businesses, have been refurbished in Wandsworth Prison’s workshops, providing practical skills for the prisoners. Thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of staff and inmates, the project has proved such a success that it is to be rolled out to other prisons across the UK.

‘With more and more schools and community groups growing their own, there is great demand for garden tools and rarely any budget,” says Conservation Foundation Director David Shreeve. “A recycling project that helps to equip the next generation of gardeners, reduces waste and provides practical skills for prisoners, seems the ideal solution. We are delighted to have the support of so many of the horticulture industry’s big names to collect tools for us but are always looking for more collection points around the UK.’

The Conservation Foundation is working with the RHS National Campaign for School Gardening to identify schools which need garden tools. Head of the scheme, Ruth Taylor, welcomes the new initiative. ‘We know lots of schools want to start school gardens but lack funds and resources,’ she says. “So ‘Free tools for schools’ is a wonderful opportunity for London schools that need the extra resource. It also highlights how communities can really support and give assistance in helping the future generation gain gardening and growing skills.’

For further information on Tools Shed and how to give and receive tools visit:

Wandsworth’s Bob Winter, who works on the Tools Shed project, with children from Furzedown School in Wandsworth. Photo: © The Conservation Foundation

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