Employees from Johnsons of Whixley, including its 80-year-old Chairman, leant their support to this year’s York Cares initiative that aims to improve outdoor spaces at various local community organisations.

Johnsons of Whixley staff members Ellie Richardson, Corrina Mills, Vicky Newell, Darren Fawbert and Chairman John Richardson, volunteered their time and expertise to support this year’s Big Community Challenge, organised by York Cares, which aims to showcase the positive impact a green environment can have on health, wellbeing and social inclusion.


York Cares is a partnership of the city’s leading employers committed to making the city a better place through employee-volunteering.

This year’s activities included growing and caring for plants, while improving York’s green spaces to benefit different communities in the city, including older people and adults with learning disabilities at Gale Farm Court Independent Living Community; young people experiencing acute mental health issues at Mill Lodge NHS Community Unit, and patients, staff and visitors that use Clarence Gardens at York Hospital.

The Johnsons team of volunteers helped improve the outside space at Mill Lodge, a mental health community unit for 12-18-year olds. The morning involved unloading the plants they supplied, digging and creating stepping stones in the garden, whilst other volunteers made raised beds for vegetables and sensory plants, removing weeds and old plants.

Johnsons of Whixley’s Ellie Richardson said: “This is our second volunteering project with York Cares. It’s great to offer our support and help a local charity by not only offering volunteers but donating plants to help improve the outside spaces too. We had a mixture of staff attend from Johnsons including our Chairman John Richardson, who at 80 was just as involved in digging and weeding as the younger ones.

“As workers within the horticultural industry, we’re very much aware of the positive impact a green environment can have on those who use it, and we were pleased to lend our time and knowledge to the project, as part of a fantastic team from a range of backgrounds.”

Johnsons of Whixley is a family business first established in 1921 and one of Europe’s largest horticultural suppliers to the commercial sector.