A CHARITY-RUN garden centre in Poole has re-opened after a major refurbishment.

Dilapidated buildings at Chestnut Nursery have been demolished and replaced with a new shop, more than 700 square metres of growing areas and a new nursery.

The new centre at Kingland Road will not only benefit customers but provide a “safe and comfortable environment” for volunteers working with Sheltered Work Opportunities Poole (SWOP), according to Chestnut Nursery. The charity offers opportunities to those with long-term mental illnesses.

Greendale Construction carried out the work for the nursery, which hopes to compete with other garden centres in the area. The new shop will sell a variety of gardening items as well as offer improved learning opportunities for the volunteers working there. Designed by Footprint Architects, the shop building boasts renewable energy technology and features two large rooflights and automatic entrance/exit doors.

Angela Mansbridge, project manager at Chestnut Nursery, said: “It was a pleasure working with Greendale, who have been very sensitive, professional and supportive of our volunteers’ needs during the build. The new building is lovely, and we are all enjoying working in the new space.

“Customer feedback has been extremely positive, and we are able to offer them many products we could not previously stock.”

Martin Stewart, managing director at Stewarts Garden Centres, and chairman and trustee of SWOP, said he was “absolutely thrilled” with the new centre.

“Greendale played a blinder, and Chestnut Nursery will now positively affect and help many hundreds of people for decades to come.”

Rob Hooker, director at Greendale Construction, said it had been a “very enjoyable project” for his team

“Greendale was employed over three years ago to help pull together the construction of this wonderful new shop and retail area, and we are really proud to have delivered this for Chestnut Nursery and the Sheltered Works Opportunity Project charity.”

He added the work had resulted in a “great facility for the customers, staff and volunteers, and we wish it every success”.

The Chestnut Nursery 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.