NHS staff on the front line caring for patients, including those with Covid-19, at Darlington Memorial Hospital, are benefiting from home grown organic produce, thanks to the skills and generosity of young people and volunteers at the Outdoor Learning Centre in Croft-on-Tees, run by Clervaux Trust.

Clervaux Trust decided to use an award of £2,000 from The Hadrian Trust – specifically to support key workers during the current crisis – to give the hospital ten large vegetable boxes a week, for twelve weeks. Each box is packed with top quality fresh fruit, preserves and eggs, as well as vegetables, most of which are grown in polytunnels at Clervaux’s 100-acre farm site. The produce is intended for staff to take home or have as a snack during a busy shift.

Bethan Davies, fundraiser at Clervaux Trust, commented, “We have a mix of children and adults with Special Educational Needs, aged from ten, placed with us on residential and day programmes at our Outdoor Learning Centre. They’re supported by staff and volunteers to grow a wide range of organic produce. During this time of crisis, they wanted to do something to show their support for key NHS workers as well as bringing communities together – we’ve been able to achieve this thanks to the money given to us by The Hadrian Trust. As a result of their hard work with us, our children and adults gain therapeutic benefits and life skills from learning to care for animals and growing plants.”

Commenting, Philippa Parsons, charity support officer at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said, “We’re incredibly grateful and humbled by this kindness and generosity which will help support the health and wellbeing of our staff. We’ve been lucky enough to receive many food donations in the last year for which we’re enormously grateful as it gives our staff a huge boost. The fact much of this food has been grown and tended with the loving care of the fabulous Clervaux team, makes it even more special.”