Free car charging points at four branches

Otter Garden Centres has added to existing green credentials with the installation of car charging points at the company’s Ottery St Mary, Plymouth, Wincanton and Lymington branches.

Customers who drive electric cars will now be able to use the EV (electric vehicle) charging stations free of charge while they shop. Each station is capable of charging two vehicles.

As a company, Otter Garden Centres is committed to an environmentally friendly approach and this is the latest in a series of green initiatives undertaken.

Managing Director, Jacqui Taylor explained: “We already use biomass boilers, solar panels and rainwater harvesting and opt for biological rather than chemical pest controls in our three growing nurseries.

“Through these car charging stations, we can give something back to our customers who go the extra green mile on the road.”

Customers will be able to browse the garden centres at leisure before returning to their fully charged car and their onward journey. The four branches are to be added to a map that displays car charging point locations in the UK.

Otter Garden Centres Operations Manager, James Billington said: “It is a great way for us to reward our customers – not only for their custom but also for their shared environmental values.

“In May, plug in hybrid vehicle sales were up 72.7 per cent, full electric vehicles were up by 18.7 per cent and diesel vehicles were down by 23.6 per cent. It is a sign of the times and we are pleased to be offering this service to our customers.”

The installation was carried out by SOL Electrical. SOL, like Otter Garden Centres, is a family-run business with its headquarters in Devon. Founded in 2007 by Simon Lord, the company is at the forefront of developing EV charge point infrastructure in the South-West.

SOL Electrical Project Manager, Marie Yexley said: “We are delighted that Otter Garden Centres is providing this service for visiting EV drivers who can both use the newly installed charging facilities and enjoy all the garden centres have to offer.”

There are currently over two million electrical vehicles on the road globally, with 130,000 in the UK. This is predicted to rise to 200,000 by the end of 2018.

Marilyn White and James Billington with Marie Yexley

DIY SOS for youth football team in Ottery

DIY SOS Ottery style

The request

Otter Garden Centres was approached by a member of the Ottery St Mary Youth Football Club, asking if we could help them with urgent repairs to their current viewing lean-to shed. This was constructed of wood and sheet metal cladding which was leaking badly and becoming unfit for purpose.

The football club asked if we could carry out repairs to make this lean-to into a nice area for parents and supporters to watch the children playing matches when the weather is poor.

After looking at the building, it became clear that all efforts to repair it would result in a rather bleak, dark, old shed for parents to stand in.

How we helped

The team discussed ideas on ways to help and agreed to donate and build a brand new modern summer house, with a covered lean-to on the front for parents to stand under to cheer the teams on, along with a small covered patio area at the side where a BBQ could be set up to provide food and drink such as bacon sandwiches, hot dogs, teas and coffees for supporters and players after the matches.

We hope this brings extra fun to matches held at Ottery Football Club and perhaps raise some extra money for the club if they wanted to sell refreshments to visiting parents and teams.

The match

To celebrate the handing over of the new summerhouse to the youth football teams, the club organised a friendly football match with a team from Otter Garden Centres playing five-a-side football against the under 13 Ottery team.

Sabine Taylor said: “The under 13 football team was a delight to play football against and they were very kind to their visiting team. We all came away impressed with the level of football they played and their conduct on the pitch; they showed that you can be good at football and also be a credit to the sport and your community.

“We are pleased to have supported the youth teams and we hope we might be able to arrange an annual match so that we can keep in touch with them and help again in the future. It’s so good for young people to get outside and play sport and Ottery Football club gives the youngsters a great opportunity to do this.”

The end result was a marginal win for the Otter Garden Centres team – but we suspect that the under 13s let us win as a thank you for donating the summerhouse and providing bacon sandwiches after the match.

Otter and Ottery teams