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News Report Page 5 of 18
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Dobbies announces Southport's Helping Your Community Grow winner

DOBBIES, the UK's leading garden centre, has announced Southport's Helping Your Community Grow project winner, seeing Compassion Acts Allotment receive gardening resources to brighten up their green space in a sustainable way.

This spring, Dobbies' Southport store is supporting this worthy project with advice, products and support to help their green space flourish.

Compassion Acts Allotment was created during lockdown to grow food for a local food bank and has now progressed to teaching the community how to grow seeds so they can use the allotment for themselves. The allotment will use Dobbies' donation to continue growing fresh produce for food banks in the Southport area, plus work to plant more seeds and make the allotment accessible for everyone.​

Janet and Peter at Compassion Acts Allotment are delighted with the win:- "We're thrilled to have won Dobbies' Helping Your Community Grow initiative and are looking forward to bringing our project to life. Thank you for selecting us, and thank you to everybody who voted for us, we are looking forward to working with Dobbies on our project."

Dobbies' CEO, Graeme Jenkins, said:- "Helping Your Community Grow is a really popular initiative in Southport and we're thrilled to be announcing our winning project, Compassion Acts Allotment, who are looking to make a difference to the local area. It's been great to see an enhanced importance on sustainability and environmentally friendly practices this year, and we're excited to see where our support takes them."

There will be further opportunities available for community groups looking to brighten up their local areas. Community groups are invited to contact their local store for details of the community initiatives available on a case by case basis.

For more information visit:- Dobbies.Com.


Simple Life donates £30k to Merseyside riding School in memory of a much loved colleague, Ron Dawson

CONTINUING its commitment to give back to both its residents and its communities, 1 of the leading providers in the UK build to rent market, Simple Life by Sigma Capital Group Limited, has donated £30,000 to local Merseyside riding club, Park Palace Ponies.

The volunteer led equestrian programme, which teaches innercity children from deprived neighbourhoods horse riding basics, has been crowdfunding since failing to receive public funding, as hoped. This is the 5th year the company has sponsored Park Palace Ponies, with this donation being its largest yet.

The donation illustrates the company's vision and values and its ever growing strategy to create a positive impact to people's lives within the Regions it develops in and the wider local communities. This was also the vision of its much loved, and industry respected, colleague Ron Dawson, who sadly passed away in 2020, and after whom the new stables will be named.

Ron, who was a highly valued member of the Sigma family, had a reputation in the Merseyside Region for his deep rooted concern for the future of the City and his core values for helping communities and those affected by economic hardship. Ron was previously head of economic development for Liverpool City Council and championed local communities throughout his career. Sigma has kept Ron's spirit ever-present in its continued ESG plan and charitable donations, and its annual contribution to local Schools is also known as the:- 'Ron Dawson Donation.'

Following this donation to Park Palace Ponies, the charity has been able to open a much larger riding School, at Walkers' Woods, in Aigburth, which will be named Ron's Simple Life Stables. The stables will accommodate up to 120 riders, a third of whom live in the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country and half live in the 30% most deprived neighbourhoods.

Simple Life's ESG Director, Niamh Waldron, said:- "We are dedicated to helping, funding, and supporting organisations in the wider community. This is the most important part of our ethos, and it's great to be able to help so many young people and their families through donations like this, to Park Palace Ponies. The benefits and positive impact are clear; life skills including self confidence, engagement, compassion, empathy, and the chance to take on responsibility, nurture nature, and simply have fun, are outcomes we cannot and should never try to measure numerically. Building our relationship with the charity is a natural progression of this, and continuing Ron's legacy in the naming of the new stables Ron's Simple Life Stables is part of this friendship. We look forward to future visits and hearing news from the many young people who get to enjoy this simply fabulous facility. "

Opened in 2017, as part of a 6 month pilot scheme to measure the demand for the inner city riding School, Park Palace Ponies has since put 3,000 children through a basic riding course. Due to high demand from the community, the programme sought to secure Council funding to expand its offering and deliver more facilities but was ultimately rejected and so, turned to crowdfund.

Bridget Griffin, Chair of Park Palace Ponies, said:- "Following the Pandemic, many riding Schools were closed making it near impossible to find riding lessons across the Region. We have seen 1st hand how our School helps so many young people, and we desperately wanted it to continue. Simple Life's incredible donation has meant we are able to move forward with our plans to open up Ron's Simple Life Stables and provide more inner-city children than ever with key riding skills."

Sigma has sponsored Park Palace Ponies since 2018. Over the past 5 years, funding has focused mainly on sponsoring the pony, Moses, through Sigma's relationship with its 1st School, Monksdown Primary School in Norris Green, where Sigma's annual donations covered the cost of riding lessons for one full School year.

Through its regular donations, Sigma has helped to accelerate the work of the Park Palace Ponies programme to reach children of all ages through many Schools in Merseyside.


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