In the press...
Solstice features on Beechgrove Garden 2016
After a day of filming in October, Solstice Nurseries featured in the Beechgrove Garden episode broadcast on BBC 2 on 20th October 2016. Everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed talking about their experiences.
Social Firms Scotland, January 2015
Members’ Photoset for Solstice Nurseries
SFS featured Solstice Nurseries as its second Members’ Photoset on its Facebook page. Click here to see the photos
Daily Record, 2013
Solstice shares in Wish Cash Giveaway
Thank you to all who helped us collect the Daily Records Wish Cash Giveaway tokens. Solstice received almost 1% of the total prize money.
Also thanks to the Daily Record for the fantastic opportunity and the wonderful publicity we received through their "Caring gardener" article about our Business Manager George Parkinson.
Caring gardener George Parkinson backs our £10,000 Wish Aberdeen campaign, by Charlie Gall
ABERDONIAN George registered for our fantastic Wish Aberdeen £10,000 community cash giveaway as he admits fundraising is a constant struggle.
GARDENER George Parkinson specialises in growing plants – and people.
For nearly a decade he has been the driving force behind a business on the banks of the Dee cultivating Scottish heathers. But at Banchory-Devenick’s Solstice Nurseries, horticulture and people come together in a project nurturing mutual respect.
George, 47, said: “We are a social firm, a not-for-profiting organisation registered as a company in 2004. We’re a mental health project that came out of the NHS system.
“The idea was to get people back into mainstream life rather than being institutionalised. At that time social firms, social enterprises, were the way ahead and that’s why Solstice Nurseries became one of them.”
Aberdonian George registered for our fantastic Wish Aberdeen £10,000 community cash giveaway as he admits fundraising is a constant struggle.
Just now he has 15 gardeners, or participants, from the area involved in the wholesale garden.
He said: “Most of them would probably spend their time sitting at home becoming more ill and end up taking up space in Royal Cornhill Hospital. I’m convinced it’s circular if you don’t give people activities to get involved in. Working here becomes their lives, as most people’s jobs do.
“I’m not clinically-trained but now have 12 years experience in mental health. I actually started as a technical instructor teaching gardening.”
George added: “At Solstice we’ve progressed to offering longer-term participants a VQ Level 2 in amenity horticulture, an 18-month course. It gives people a good qualification if they move into open employment. It gives them an end goal and many get there. Those involved are from 20 to 60 years old, men and women.”
They work 9.30-4.30 Monday to Friday at the six-acre site, where they produce more than 100 varieties of heather plus a selection of shrubs, perennials and alpine plants.
George said: “We’re wholesale and we sell to retailers. We have a website and we’re hoping to open an eBay shop. Our money comes from what we can sell. We also do some garden maintenance.
“Business has been slow the last couple of years because of the economic downturn. Last year we were waiting for summer – it never stopped raining. We get some grant funding through Aberdeenshire Council, a little from
Aberdeen City, and some from the NHS.
“It’s a constant struggle and it’s that time of year when we have to kit out everybody with new boots, trousers, t-shirts. We always try to get enough money to kit out everyone the same, a uniform in the broadest sense.”
BBC Scotland’s programme “Up a long creek” , March 2010
On three of the coldest days of the worst winter for 30 years, Fred MacAulay and Dougie Vipond set out on a Sport Relief challenge and they also filmed Solstice Nurseries as one of the projects which can benefit from the Sports Relief challenge.