A NEW charity garden centre will be officially opened in the grounds of a Poole nursery next month.

Staff and volunteers at Dorset-based horticultural charity, the Sheltered Work Opportunities Project, are currently carrying out their training at the centre.

The centre has been built on the 1.5 acre site of the former Poole Council Nursery in Kingland Road and will officially open on Thursday, May 23.

The team comprises 60 volunteers and a few full time staff, referred by Dorset & Hampshire NHS Trusts, the local employment service and volunteer bureau along with some self-referrals.

It is hoped the new shop will compete with other garden centres in the area.

Angela Mansbridge, Project Manager at Chestnut Nursery, said: “With our bright new 300 square metre shop we now have the opportunity to be completely self-funded through the continued sale of our own nursery grown plants and the additional range of horticultural sundries, tools, and equipment to maintain and enhance anyone’s garden.”

The introduction of the new shop has been a particular passion for Martin Stewart who is chairman of the trustees as well the managing director of Stewarts Garden Centres.

Ms Mansbridge added: “We have been very fortunate to benefit from advice from many of the Stewart’s team who share our love of horticulture and have unselfishly shared many secrets of their own success.”