Horticap Ltd is an independent, registered charity. Our team of suitably qualified staff and volunteers provide adults with learning and other disabilities training in horticulture, allied crafts, and rural skills. While we rely heavily on donations (and we have many great supporters that donate and help fund our work), we also raise much-needed additional funds through our garden centre, café, shop, and gardening services. You might think our sole focus is on our students and their needs, but it’s also important to us that we give back to your community, which is why social enterprise is very much our mindset. Naturally, our primary focus is to serve our students to the best of our abilities, but we also strive to improve the community around us by supporting local businesses and charities.
We love being part of the community of Harrogate and believe it’s important that our students are part of that too. We try to promote local business by selling local goods in our shop. A big but local business is Bettys and Taylors, whose flagship community project is the wonderful Cone Exchange. They do so much for us that it’s great to return the favour. You’ll find Bettys and Taylors coffee and tea in our café and items from the Cone Exchange in our shop. By supporting them, we’re helping to make the world a better place, which is what social enterprise is all about.
The Cone Exchange collect trash from Bettys & Taylors and 12 other local businesses and bring it to their scrap store to sell or to trade with other scrap stores. All proceeds from their shop sales are donated to local social enterprises, including Horticap and Bettys and Taylors’ Trees for Life project, which supports tree planting and tree preservation in Yorkshire and in tea and coffee growing countries. This is a fantastic example of social enterprise.
Every month we collect old pattern books from Furnish and Fettle in Wetherby and drop them off at the Cone Exchange. They then sell them at the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate to raise money.
We tidy the gardens as Wesley Methodist Church, who do great work with the Harrogate Homeless Project.
Harrogate Fire Service
Every year, we sell Christmas trees and student-made wreaths, and in 2019, we donated one of our tallest trees to the Harrogate Fire Service, who, as if they didn’t do enough for their community in the line of duty, also hosted an open Christmas Day and Christmas dinner for anyone who is lonely or struggles to put food on the table.
We’re also passionate (however clichéd that sounds) about doing our bit for the environment, which is why we collect rainwater to use for the toilets and watering, have a wind turbine and solar panels to generate electricity, use waste to make items like bird boxes to sell in the shop, and help to heat the greenhouses with waste woodchip. Our free nature trail has habitats for insects, small mammals, and birds. Our aim is to have little negative impact on the environment, and if possible, to actually improve it.
It’s marvellous being part of such a community-minded district and we’ll continue to support other local social enterprises as much as we possibly can. A mindset where an organisation supports others to improve the wider community can have only positive results on both its reputation and balance sheet.