The Dolphin Shopping Centre in Poole is now selling its own honey to local shoppers, with all money raised going towards Chestnut Nursery.
The ‘Rooftop Honey’ is available for £5 a jar, available at a concession stand in the main mall. All proceeds from the honey will be donated to Chestnut Nursery, a project which aims to use horticulture to restore well-being for adults with severe and enduring mental illnesses.
The shopping centre has its own sustainable rooftop garden, complete with two beehives, which house thousands of bees and produce top quality honey. The rooftop garden was established in 2016 to encourage the growth of vegetables and herbs and the fully-developed beehives have enabled the centre to create its very own ‘Rooftop Honey.’ 
The beehives were added to the rooftop garden to increase biodiversity in the area and to give bees a safe and environmentally friendly place to live. The honey has been harvested straight from the hives to produce a fresher taste and is rated 10+, which means it is higher quality than the typical ‘breakfast honey.’ 
Dolphin Shopping Centre staff (Matt Spencer, operations manager, Stuart Mabbutt, joint services manager and Dave Porcas and Pete Stevenson in maintenance) all completed the British Bee Keepers’ Association training last year in order to tend to the bees correctly. They have also joined the Dorset Beekeeping Association to keep up to date with community news.
Since the addition of the beehives, the bees have developed in their hundreds and will help with the pollination of the local parks and surrounding pockets of floras and gardens.
As well as creating honey, the rooftop garden is home to a selection of vegetables and herbs, including beetroot, cabbage and lettuce. The crops are tended to by shopping centre staff and the fresh produce is donated to Chestnut Nursery so they can sell this to local shoppers.
The garden was created with recyclable materials, including pallets and seven large wooden trugs, all of which are eco-friendly. Other environmentally-friendly projects for the Dolphin Shopping Centre include the introduction of ‘eco village’ with ‘living walls’ around the centre and Falkland Square. These walled areas will contain plants and herbs to bring more greenery to the area.
John Grinnell, centre manager at the Dolphin, commented: “Being an environmentally sustainable shopping centre is hugely important for us – we’ve spent years exploring options to exploit unused space and think of innovative ways to develop environmental projects.
“We were awarded a prestigious Green Apple Award last year which acknowledged our hard work in biodiversity and sustainability. We view the rooftop garden as a long-term commitment which we hope can be rolled out to other areas of the centre. The shopping centre is soon to undergo extensive refurbishment and incorporating environmentally friendly areas is high on the agenda for the design team. We want to create more areas where wildlife and plants can develop.”
Angela Mansbridge, project manager at Chestnut Nursery commented: “We are incredibly grateful to the Dolphin Shopping Centre for their commitment to us. Thanks to the shopping centre’s rooftop garden, we are able to invite our service users to visit the shopping centre and encourage them to tend to the flowers and see how the honey is made. We can’t wait to try their honey!”
Chestnut Nursery is part of the local charity Sheltered Work Opportunities Project (SWOP).
For more information about the Dolphin Shopping Centre, visit www.dolphinshoppingcentre.co.uk

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