Nottinghamshire fire service HQ gets social enterprise vegetable patch

Volunteers from BT with Jill Carter and Jessie Carter-Kay of Pulp Friction and fire station manager Chris Emmott.
Volunteers from BT with Jill Carter and Jessie Carter-Kay of Pulp Friction and fire station manager Chris Emmott.

Fire and rescue staff have started growing vegetables at their headquarters after teaming up with a social enterprise for people with learning disabilities.

Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service staff and emergency services 999 operators from BT joined forces for the community payback project, building a vegetable patch and polytunnel at the service’s north Nottingham base.

The vegetables will be used in the headquarters’ staff canteen, which is run by non-profit caterers Pulp Friction, and will also be donated to local food banks and community projects.

Lisa Haigh, a member of the 999 data team at BT, said: “We searched for several places where we could undertake a project where we could give something back to the community.

“We decided on this project because we thought it would not only be beneficial for the members of Pulp Friction but also for the local community and NFRS staff as well.

“Once we heard about the partnership between NFRS and Pulp Friction, we decided we wanted to help in whatever way we could.

“Pulp Friction is close to my heart as my godson, who is 16, has Down’s syndrome. The work they do for people with learning difficulties is amazing.”

Pulp Friction initially started up a mobile smoothie bar providing the chance for young adults with learning disabilities to develop work-readiness, social and independence skills.

In 2015, it moved into the NFRS headquarters and began to expand its services in order to offer more extensive work experience, training and employment opportunities.

It is hoped the vegetable patch will help make the business more sustainable and cost effective, so it can further develop members and employ even more people.

BT staff travelled from as far afield as Newcastle, Sheffield, Leeds, Hatfield and Ipswich to begin work on the project last month, with members of the Prince’s Trust will be finishing the job.

Edwinstowe fire station manager Chris Emmott, who helped out with the work and co-organised the project, said: “Thiswas a fantastic opportunity for us to collaborate with BT on this project and help continue to build the relationship between our organisations. I’d like to thank the team from BT for giving up their time to make a positive difference in the community.”