Derventio Housing Trust Growing Lives Project Good News Story!

Posted on: 08 Sep 2023

Our partners at Derventio Housing Trust have in recent months issued the below press release about a donation made to the Growing Lives Garden!  For further details you can find the article below:

“Derbyshire social project helping people after homelessness officially blooming after ten tonne topsoil donation

A Derbyshire social project which helps people who have been through homelessness is blooming with the help of a whopping ten-tonne topsoil donation so they can grow their own veg.

The donation to Derventio Housing Trust’s Growing Lives project in Ilkeston has been made by Alfreton-based Leedale Ltd, which provides a range of services to the construction industry, such as waste management. The topsoil was sourced from local construction projects, and was screened and tested at Leedale Ltd’s recycling yard in Alfreton.

Growing Lives is an activities project run by the housing trust which provides people in its properties, and referred there via other services, with communal activities such as woodworking, craft, walks and gardening, with the aim of creating a supportive, caring environment and helping them get back on their feet again.

People are helped by Derventio Housing Trust which provides them with accommodation if they have recently been homeless.

Leedale Ltd dropped off ten tonnes of topsoil which was transported to the garden by Derventio Housing Trust staff and residents using wheelbarrows.

Penny Wiltshire, funding and development manager at Derventio Housing Trust, who was introduced to Leedale through their work with Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust, said: “It just goes to show that through creating valuable networks we can work together to provide projects like Growing Lives with resources that they really need. There is so much goodwill in the world, not to mention resourcefulness, which is how this topsoil donation has come about!”

Wayne Rodgers, who has been helped by Derventio Housing Trust and is a regular at Growing Lives – which provided him with his first ever holiday in 2022 when he was 54 – said: “Growing Lives is a place where you can relax and forget about your problems. You’re kept so busy here you haven’t got time to think about what’s going on in your life. This place is in my blood, I feel part of the furniture!”

Rachael Tomlin, a tutor at Growing Lives, said: “The garden soil is mainly sub soil and we have been working very hard to grow a lot of things here. We have struggled and it was mentioned that we could really do with some topsoil.

“Thanks to this donation we can now grow all the lovely produce that we have planned for this site! We’re hoping to grow courgettes, carrots, we have got lettuces, radishes, tomatoes, potatoes and beans. Everything we grow, we’ll be putting in meals we’re cooking.”

Another Derventio Housing Trust resident, Garry Welsh, said he enjoyed being in the garden having spent time outdoors with his family at a younger age.

He said: “Coming to Growing Lives gives me something to wake up in the morning for. I’ve not really grown anything since I was younger. It makes me feel brilliant here.”

The team at Leedale Ltd removes construction and demolition waste from building sites to bring back to its recycling yard where it is then filtered, treated and screened to create quality aggregates, including topsoil, which can then be used again.

Ben Hammond, head of business development at Leedale Ltd, said: “At Leedale we are proud to support charities and organisations as and where we can and when Derventio explained this cause to us, it was the least we could do.

“Hearing the story behind what the donation was going to support, it was a no brainer for us to get involved in such a great cause. The whole team at Derventio is great to deal with and it’s a pleasure to be able to support them.”

Photos show: Garry Welsh, Gaz Smallman transporting the topsoil; the Growing Lives garden”

If you would like more information on how to attend the Growing Lives Project, you can find contact information and can read more about the project on the GRID website’s Recovery Projects page - Growing Lives - Derventio Housing Trust (

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