Schoolchildren are getting their green fingers in an exciting health and wellbeing project spearheaded by a Bridport business.

Groves Nurseries is helping pupils learn about the benefits of gardening and encouraging them to get growing by providing free seeds and bulbs to local schools.

There has been positive feedback from the children – and more schools are now being encouraged to get involved.

The project comes amid an increase in mental health issues among children and young people across the UK.

Gardening is now seen as an ideal way to mitigate the increase in mental health issues among schoolchildren. The benefits to mental wellbeing are now widely known. This year at the Chelsea Flower Show, the Duchess of Cambridge’s Back to Nature garden highlighted how time spent in natural environments can build the foundations for positive mental wellbeing that lasts through childhood and over a lifetime.

Before the summer, staff at Groves sent schools free sunflower seeds and pumpkins to grow.

And this month, the firm will be part of the 'little daffodils' campaign launch to get children planting bulbs. Daffodil bulbs are being delivered to primary schools including St Mary’s Primary and Mountjoy School in Beaminster.

On a visit to St Mary's last week, staff described how the children ran around the polytunnel proudly pointing out the vegetables that are still growing.

Mrs Eames, who runs the gardening club, said: "The kids love coming to the Eco Club and our garden area is a dream come true.

"We use the vegetables in our after school cooking club and donated some cucumbers from our garden to the homeless shelter next door. We are so grateful for the support we receive from Groves."

A gardening club is also run at Mountjoy School. The pumpkins are still growing and will be ready for carving for Halloween. During half-term, Groves will be displaying pumpkins from the schools around the pond at its West Bay Road site.

Groves' spokesman Angie Porter said: "Getting kids into gardening this October might make life a bit brighter for young people so if your school is interested in participating please get in contact with Groves by emailing"

n Groves is sponsoring this year’s Bridport Mind Fest Sunflower Project which runs from Friday, October 11 to Sunday, October 13.