Call for businesses to join forces to help school garden project

A school garden project is being given £500 a year for the next three years by Dorset law firm Kitson & Trotman.

The much-needed donation comes after one of the firm’s Partners, Richard King, visited the garden at St Mary’s Primary School, Bridport, as he accompanied judges of this year’s  Melplash Agricultural Society’s garden competition in his role as society president.

And now he is encouraging other local businesses to help fund the ground-breaking project, which was given a special award in the annual competition.

“If ten other businesses could donate a similar sum, it would be invaluable to help with the costs of running the garden and running family cookery workshops as well as developing other projects,” Mr King said.

The garden and food growing work at the school Skilling was started by Home in Bridport, a community organisation which became a charity over a year ago, founded by Robert Golden.

Tina Ellen Lee, one of the supporters of the St Mary’s garden team, said Home in Bridport was delighted with the three-year sponsorship from Kitson & Trotman and added:  “If we could find ten businesses it would mean that the money for the gardeners, nutritionist and the payment for running the family cookery workshops would be secure per annum.”

Mr King described this visit to the garden as ‘like a breath of fresh air.’

The plot, complete with two polytunnels, also includes a pizza oven, which pupils have helped create. Produce reaped from the garden is then used in the school kitchens and the surplus in the summer is shared with Bridport’s food bank.

He said: “I was so impressed with the enthusiasm of Tia and Mitch , the gardeners who are running the garden and the fact that young children grow the vegetables and fruit, pick them and they then take it to the kitchen and they have them for lunch.

“It’s wonderful to see children learning about the provenance of food and actually growing, cooking and eating it.”

His colleague, Kitson & Trotman Partner Tracy Scammell, was equally taken with the garden when she was taken on a tour of the garden and kitchen.

“It’s a great project and lovely to see how something so simple can make such a difference,” she said.

Tina Ellen Lee, artistic director of Opera Circus, a performing arts company that runs regional and international youth projects, works alongside Sarah Wilberforce of Transition Town Bridport in fundraising for the garden project.

She said future development plans included a woodland garden, designed by Key Stage 2 pupils, which incorporated a pond enclosure near the school.  The garden and its projects and events, including the Bridport Food Festival, is now being used by the school to explore aspects of the Cornerstone teaching in the National Curriculum.

The gardening team are looking to start propagating more fruit trees and to start the careful process of developing edible hedgerows.

If you run a business locally and would like to help sponsor the project, please contact Tina Ellen Lee at

To find out more about project, visit