Decking upcycling for a good cause


A retired local minister is raising money for a new maternity unit in Ghana – by selling planters made from timber offcuts provided by Cornwall-based decking firm Gripsure.

Peter Willows, 74, has made dozens of the popular garden troughs, which he then sells on Facebook.

The money he collects goes towards The King’s Village, a project in Northern Ghana, Africa, that provides healthcare, education and development to the country’s poorest communities.

His planters have so far helped to raise more than £3k towards a £150k target to build a new life-saving maternity unit in the area.

“I’m so pleased with how well the planters been selling,” said Willows, who approached Gripsure to ask if he could use our decking offcuts to help his woodworking project. “I’d been getting hold of old bits of wood and upcycling them for a while, but I needed some more. I put an appeal out online and someone suggested Gripsure were very helpful.”

Gripsure manufactures non-slip timber decking, which it sells to homeowners and for commercial use across the UK and internationally.

Willows, who lives in St Austell, was invited to come along to Gripsure’s site in nearby Rockhill Business Park, Bugle, where staff helped him to fill the boot of his car with timber offcuts.

“I must have been back five or six times since,” said Willows. “The people there are all very friendly and helpful to deal with. When I couldn’t get all of one load into my car, one member of staff delivered it round to my house the following evening.”

He is planning to get hold of some more Gripsure waste timber soon to create some of the smaller wooden plant pots that are selling fast on his Facebook Marketplace page. His product prices range from £20 to £30.

Gripsure MD, Mike Nicholson, said he was delighted the firm’s offcuts were being put to such good use.

“What Peter has been doing is fantastic,” he said. “Gripsure has a strong commitment to sustainability and this community project is a great example of what can be achieved with a little imagination and hard work.”