Harrogate rallies around Horticap for major lockdown projects


Last updated Jul 31, 2020
Phil Airey is the operations manager at Horticap.
Phil Airey is the operations manager at Horticap.

Harrogate has rallied around local charity Horticap to help transform its garden as well as its new cafe and shop ready for the return of students.

The charity helps adults with learning disabilities to train in horticulture and crafts but they have not been able to attend since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

Coronavirus has been tough for Horticap as it has missed out on key fundraising events. However, the people behind the charity have used it as an opportunity to grow.

The new cafe and shop building at Horticap.

Using a legacy left by a former student of 20 years, Peter Hopkins, Horticap has built a brand new shop and tea room. To go along with the build, the charity planned to flatten the garden and pond but had no funds to get the job done.

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That is where local businesses have come in. Phil Airey, the operations manager at Horticap, has called in all his favours to get the help the charity needs.

“Coronavirus has hit us hard, but it has hit everybody hard. We are very fortunate that people are coming together for us. I have been blown over by it all. There was a point where we didn’t think we could pull it off and then everything came together.”

The garden plans with coronavirus in mind.

The charity has not yet been given the go-ahead to welcome students back but the managers hope that, when they do, they will be able to surprise them with a new garden ready for the students to help with planting.

It will make a big difference to those with physical disabilities as the garden will be made accessible to all. The garden will also have pods for people to sit and enjoy the space.

Nicholas Edward Fryer is overseeing the project. Johnsons of Whixley, New Park Trees, Johnny Clasper, Creation Sculpture, Sherwood Carving, Marshalls, GH Brooks, Castacrete, Plasmor, Millboard, HACS, and Green Tech are all donating time and/or materials.

Horticap was established 35 years ago after the charity bought the land from a farmer. Its patron is Alan Titchmarsh, who is planning to visit the site soon.

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