Organic Blooms - help us grow

by Jo Wright/Organic Blooms in Iron Acton, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 16th April 2018 we successfully raised £32,963 with 268 supporters in 33 days

We grow gorgeous flowers and wonderful people! Help us to grow so that we can create more life changing jobs at our supported workplace.

by Jo Wright/Organic Blooms in Iron Acton, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

We have been bowled over by your generosity and support and have even shed a few tears (good ones, I might add!).  Thank you so much!

There is still time to do more!

We have added a stretch target to make the most of our extra facilities and support more people with mental health problems, learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorders in our workplace.  This money will provide us with things that we can't afford to fund through our normal revenue but that make such a difference to people who work here:

Logoed workwear and mugs

our work team consistently tell us that wearing a uniform and having a named mug makes them feel that they belong and have a role to play.  We provide t shirts but most of our team would love a hoody for the winter and a cap in the summer!

8f508e93f30f187eaeeac819a53a752944fc4756

A covered lunch area/quiet space

Not all of our trainees like to eat their lunch inside and some need some space to sit quietly or have some 1:1 support. We would love to get hold of a preloved yurt or marquee to provide this very valuable space

A trailer for manure

As organic growers we rely on donations of manure to help keep our soil healthy.  We get lots of offers, but have no trailer to move it in. 

And the boring, but essential requests:

A new water supply to our polytunnel, wood to make staging,  new flower boxes to send out our flowers ...


At Organic Blooms we have been growing gorgeous flowers and wonderful people since 2006. Now we need to grow our business to help more people bloom and reach their potential.

What we do

We are a Soil Association organic certified flower farm and florist. We are also a social enterprise.  We sell our bouquets, flower subscriptions and plug plant through our online shop and we thrive on making weddings and events even more special with our gloriously natural arrangements.

Every flower we grow and every stem we sell helps us to train someone who has struggled to find work because of a learning difficulty, autistic spectrum disorder or long term mental health condition.

Our trainees are referred to us and referrers arrange funding to cover some of the core costs of each trainee placement. As a social enterprise, our business meets some of the additional costs of supporting people and creating life changing paid jobs.

We use flower growing, gardening and floristry to improve the wellbeing and skills of each of our trainees. We see marked changes in their physical health, confidence, social skills and transferable workplace skills such as following instructions, using initiative, customer service and team working. Along the way they gain City and Guilds horticulture qualifications.

Each trainee spends at least two years with us, often longer, giving them time to really consolidate their recovery, wellbeing and skills before moving on into paid employment or further training. Some trainees have gone on to become key members of our own employed team here at Organic Blooms.

You can hear what Organic Blooms means to Katy by clicking here!

Why we need your help

At the moment we can support up to 30 fantastic trainees at any one time depending on the range and complexity of needs and the intensity of support required. But we want to offer opportunities to more.

We are also leading the way in the growing organic British flower market – in fact we provided the flowers for the Soil Association’s 70th birthday celebrations and their BOOM Awards. This year Wendy, our lead florist, is part of a small group of grower-florists creating a major British flowers feature at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. We are in a great position to expand our flower-growing and floristry.

We moved to our current home in the South Gloucestershire countryside in 2010, where we have developed our 4-acre field into cutting gardens growing over 70 varieties of annual and perennial cut flowers. We have three polytunnels for seed-sowing, potting on and for growing on some of our early and less hardy blooms. We also have a small floristry workshop and a training room-come-kitchen/break room that we also use as our office and a space for running a range of courses.

But things have become a little crowded and we need to grow expand!

We have taken on the neighbouring 5-acre field, which is currently under conversion to Soil Association organic status. We now need to equip our new field with a multispan polytunnel, a workshop and toilets. We want to have these new growing and training facilities up and running by Autumn 2018.

We’d love your help to raise £30,000 to contribute to these costs. This will be an enormous step towards transforming more lives.

Why we do what we do

Most people with learning differences and long term mental health conditions want to work. Work is important for self-worth, confidence and self-identity as well as creating opportunities for social contact. Most also want to earn their own money, pay their own way and be less reliant on benefits.

The truth is, people with learning difficulties, mental health problems or autistic spectrum disorders are often overlooked by employers, even though they can make positive and significant contributions to business and the workplace.

We don’t want people to be defined by their conditions. We want them to be defined by who they are and what they can do. Our work is designed to help people prove the value they can bring and help employers to see the potential employee behind the condition.

As individuals and as a team we also understand the importance of protecting and nurturing our soils and our natural environments for the long-term resilience of life on our planet. Our ethical, organic growing methods support soil health and local ecology. Flowers are, essentially, a luxury product and we are committed to developing awareness of the environmental benefits of choosing seasonal, locally- and organically-grown flowers over out-of-season flowers grown with high chemical input and imported over long distances and transported and stored using high-energy refrigeration.

Who we are

Organic Blooms was founded by director and head horticulturalist Jo Wright, an expert in social and therapeutic horticulture. Jo has long experience of running therapeutic horticulture projects in the UK and overseas, including in US prisons. After many years of supporting people therapeutically, Jo recognised that the best way to help people develop and move on in their lives is to support and train them in a real business.

Jo’s realisation coincided with a resurging interest in the UK in a more natural cottage garden style of floristry, and Organic Blooms was born.

Jo teamed up with local expert florist Wendy Paul, who was looking for a new challenge just as Organic Blooms was being established. Having run small businesses for several years including her own successful florist’s shop, Wendy’s interest had shifted from the unseasonal force-grown imported flowers, grown for stem and life length rather than scent and natural beauty, on which traditional floristry relies. Wanting to focus instead on ethically grown British seasonal flowers, Wendy’s skills were a perfect fit for Organic Blooms.

Since Jo and Wendy started out the part-time Organic Blooms team – which includes five former trainees – has grown to include horticulturalist and trainer Andy, horticultural supervisors Katy and Rob H, horticulturalist and florist Lisa, florist and resident artist Debbie (who painted our gorgeous training room murals and designed our fabulous new logo), floristry assistant Faye, administrator Nic, product developer Lucy C, and seed-sower, potter-on and composter extraordinaire Alex. We are supported by our four volunteers Rob W, Gill, Pat and Lucy R.

The growing British flower market 

The market for British-grown flowers is growing.  Consumers are beginning to ask questions about where their flowers come from and those who are aware of some key issues, are less prepared to buy this luxury item at a high environnmental cost.

In the UK we spend more than £2bn per year on cut-flowers and house plants but at the moment close to 90% are grown overseas, usually with high chemical input, before being chemically treated to prevent ripening, transported long distances in energy-hungry refrigerated vehicles and bought wholesale through the vast Dutch flower auctions.

Organic Blooms offers an ethical, environmnetally sound alternative floristry product that outcompetes many of the mainstream offers in terms of quality, scent, and aesthetics.  We would like our flowers to reach more customers, and to take back some market share from more environmentally costly imports.

And last, but certainly not least, our thanks go to some amazing people who have helped to capture the essence of Organic Blooms through our video and photographs: 

Filmed and edited by Tom Adams

Additional photography: Steve Sayers, Wendy Paul

Music: Martin Ellis, Paul Ewart, Al Murray, Pat Reid.

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

Spread the love!

This is a reward with a difference! For your £5 pledge, we will send a bunch of our flowers to someone in need to brighten their day! We will send bunches to nursing homes, day centres and to our wonderful heros in the emergency services. We believe in the power of our flowers to make people smile, and with your pledge you are sending this elusive and invaluable gift to someone who needs it. The reward to you is the pleasure of giving!

£10 or more

Wall of Thanks

A personal thank you on our new workshop wall and entry into a prize draw for a bouquet.

£15 or more

10 of 10 claimed

Cream tea and tour of organic blooms

Spend the afternoon relaxing at our organic cut flower farm. This is a perfect gift for friends or family. This reward includes a tour of organic blooms and and a cream tea. This event is Sunday 8th July 2.30pm - 4.30pm. Only 10 places available so don't delay!

£20 or more

Pack of 6 Organic Blooms postcards and envelopes

A personal thank you on our new workshop wall and a pack of 6 Organic Blooms postcards and envelopes, plus entry into a prize draw for a bouquet.

£25 or more

10 of 10 claimed

Cream tea, tour and pick your own flowers

A perfect treat for a Summer's afternoon! Join us for a tour of our flower fields and pick your own flowers. The afternoon is topped off with a delicious homemade cream tea - ahh, bliss! Sunday 8th July 2.30pm-4.30pm

£25 or more

18 of 80 claimed

Pukka tea travel tin with teabags

Our lovely friends at Pukka have kindly donated some very cute travel tins and teabags so that you can 'take nature with you' (as it says on the tin)- our philosophy precisely! As with all pledges, we will also enter you into a prize draw for a bouquet and you will have a personal, hand-painted thank you on our new workshop wall!

£30 or more

53 of 60 claimed

An afternoon of organic gin and flowers

What could be better than sitting back, sipping an organic gin on a summer's afternoon after harvesting a bucket of our beautiful organic flowers? This is a unique afternoon for all flower and gin lovers to spend time among our flowers and support our amazing work at the same time - its a win-win! There will be several organic gins to taste, and you will be able to pick a bucket of flowers to take home. We think this will be a popular one!

£40 or more

Sponsor a bed of flowers

If you want to support our project, but have no need of rewards, we will thank you by creating a hand painted sign on one of our flower beds to personally acknowledge your kind donation. You will be welcome to come and visit (by appointment) during the growing season to see your bed in its full glory!

£45 or more

8 of 12 claimed

How to paint flowers - an afternoon art workshop

New and exclusive for this crowdfunding campaign - this half day workshop on 9th June is run by Debbie, our very own resident artist. She will provide you with the tuition and guidance to paint flowers, using our flower fields as your inspiration. We will provide the tuition, a canvas, the inspiration and obligatory tea and cake, but we ask that you bring your own art materials. Debbie can guide you on suitable materials prior to the event.

£50 or more

32 of 40 claimed

A cutting garden plug plant kit and box of stems

Create your own cut flower garden with a selection of our favourite varieties grown for you (in certified organic compost). You will receive a box of 30 well rooted plug plants - 5 plants of 6 different hardy annual species, suitable as cut flowers. We will also send you a box of our organic cut flower stems to arrange yourself.

£65 or more

A jug of Organic flowers delivered nationwide

Treat yourself or a loved one to our signature product - a stunning jug of our certified organic flowers, delivered anywhere in the country on a date to be agreed from mid June on wards. All jugs of flowers ordered through this campaign will also get free organic chocolate - go on treat someone and help us grow at the same time!

£75 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Entry for 2 to Chelsea Physic Garden, with 2 books

This voucher has kindly been donated by Chelsea Physic Garden, a world renowned garden whose entire theme is health and healing. The voucher can be used any time this year, and includes a guide book and The Apothecaries' garden which explains the storey of the garden.

£75 or more

1 of 1 claimed

2 signed books by 'no dig' guru Charles Dowding

Charles has kindly donated 2 signed books - The Vegetable Journal and No Dig Organic Home and Garden. We have also included a pack of our cut flower plug plants, so you will be fully equipped to make a start on your garden!

£75 or more

9 of 50 claimed

Bucketfuls of flowers (collection only)

This is what we are all about! Pop in once a month (by arrangement) to collect a bursting bucketful of our seasonal organic flowers. Perfect for your home, or as a gift. 4 buckets in total June - September 2018. email us to arrange suitable collection dates

£90 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Half day 1:1 gardening advice and tuition

Whether you have slug problems, a north facing border or have always wanted to know how to train an apple tree, this is the reward for you. Our team of expert horticulturalists will give you half a day of training and advice tailored to you and your garden. This will be delivered at Organic Blooms, at a mutually convenient time. We will agree with you what you would like to cover beforehand. Feel free to bring photos of your garden!

£100 or more

2 hours consultancy with Jo Wright

This is the chance to pick my brain on all things flowery! I can also advise on Social Enterprise development, organic growing etc. The session will be delivered at Organic Blooms at a mutually convenient time.

£150 or more

0 of 10 claimed

A hand tied bouquet tutorial and flowers for 6 wks

For all you budding florists and flower arrangers, this is a flower package extraordinaire! We will give you a personal hand tied bouquet tutorial at Organic Blooms and then you will have 6 buckets of flowers, spread across the rest of the season to practice with! Collection only, although we can courier the flowers anywhere in the country for an extra charge (£10 per delivery). Tutorial slots will be arranged at a mutually convenient time.

£200 or more

4 of 10 claimed

Flower Farmer for a day (for 2)

Gain a unique, behind the scenes, insight into our working flower farm and social enterprise. Spend the day with us in the height of our growing season as we tend our crops, harvest and prepare our bouquets. You will have the chance to see all aspects of our enterprise and go home with some harvested goodies of your own! This will be fulfilled between June and end September 2018, by appointment. Weekdays only.

£300 or more

3 of 5 claimed

Private floristry day for 2

Immerse yourself in organic blooms and learn how to use British cut flowers to make hand tied bouquets, arrangements and much more. You will receive 1:2 tuition from our highly skilled floristry team and have the pick of the full range of flowers. You will go home, arms laden and inspired!

£300 or more

2 of 5 claimed

Bespoke flower workshop for 4 with tea and cake!

Enjoy a private half day workshop for you and 3 friends, with the all essential tea and cake! You can choose your theme - from simple arrangements, to floral crowns or even wreath or garland making.

£500 or more

Sponsor a compost loo!

What greater accolade is there than to have your name (and even your company logo) hand painted onto one of our new compost toilets! Our bladders will be eternally indebted to you as the toilet queue is reduced. An invite to a grand opening could also be on the cards (with the obligatory flowers, tea and cake thrown in to make an afternoon of it). Go on - live dangerously and pledge now!

£1,500 or more

0 of 4 claimed

A team day at Organic Blooms for 25 people

Great for organisations who want to treat their staff! The day will be designed around you and your aims, but could include harvesting flowers, creating a hand tied bouquet, or for the less flowery, some horticultural skills or challenges!! Available from June - September 2018

£2,000 or more

0 of 3 claimed

Hire our flower farm for the day!

Exclusive to this campaign - this is a unique opportunity to take over our flower farm for the day as a venue for your own event. You will have use of buildings, gazebos and flower fields and we will be on hand to make sure things run smoothly for you and your guests. Feel free to contact us to discuss options before you pledge.

Got an idea like this?

Our crowd has raised over £60 million for bright ideas and good causes.