Innovative plans by leading social enterprise NAViGO to further transform Grimsby Garden Centre have been submitted to council planners.

The proposals include:

  • the repurposing of shipping containers to create a unique independent retail feature entrance hub for small local businesses
  • a new timber built green barn with wool insulation, composting toilets and rainwater harvesting. The low-carbon facility, powered by a wind turbine will provide flexible use space for activities, children’s play and events.

The plans also include proposed extensions to the garden centre increasing the indoor shopping area and space in the popular Café Blue.

It is hoped that doubling the size and relocating the car park to the side of the centre will ease congestion at the entrance, while repairs and expansion of the current access road will benefit visitors, staff and local residents.

Jo Keen Head of Employment and Commercial Services at NAViGO said: “We want to create an attractive and accessible centre enjoyed by more local people while boosting our sales and securing our sustainability so we can continue to invest in employment and training opportunities and support mental health services across North East Lincolnshire.

“At NAViGO, we are truly unique – we are always looking at innovative new developments and the creation of a shipping container retail space would be extremely exciting for the local area providing opportunities for small, local, independent businesses.

“The addition of a green barn allows us to provide activities and events but also demonstrates our environmental commitment by minimising waste and using sustainable energy.”

Split into phases, it is anticipated the developments, if approved, will be completed over three years.

Since taking over the centre in 2015, NAViGO has provided over 80 skills, training and employment opportunities to local people.

In addition, the enterprise has recently exceeded £1 million in annual turnover and also increased profits – all of which goes into the upkeep of the centre and in supporting mental health services across North East Lincolnshire.

NAViGO is an award-winning social enterprise providing mental health services to the NHS and beyond.

The whole basis of their work is to ‘deliver services that we would be happy for our own family to use’.

Offering a range of mental health services including acute patient and community facilities NAViGO also provide specialist support such as systemic family therapy; access, crisis and liaison psychiatry; older persons’ in-patient services; rehabilitation and recovery; personality disorder service; community mental health and memory service and an outstanding specialist eating disorder facility.

Named one of the top 100 not-for-profit organisations to work for by The Sunday Times, four years in succession, NAViGO have developed income generating, commercially viable businesses that provide training, education and employment opportunities including Grimsby Garden Centre and People’s Park Floral Hall.

Consultation is currently underway with local residents with a council decision due by the end of September.