We are absolutely delighted to announce that we have appointed Julie Davenport as our new Tree Nursery Manager.

Our Community Tree Nursery at Trewoon is a brand-new social enterprise, which has three main aims; to meet the need for locally grown trees and plants in Cornwall, to provide volunteering opportunities for people in the local community, and to generate income to help us open a residential community which will provide accommodation, support and work experience to formerly homeless people.

To celebrate Julie joining Emmaus Cornwall and our brand new social enterprise, we asked her a few questions…

What is your professional background?

I trained as a gardener from the age of 16, first doing an apprenticeship with Cornwall Council at a place called Probus Demonstration Gardens. It was quite an amazing place because it meant that I could learn absolutely everything and I got experience with growing trees for the council. After I did my apprenticeship, I spent time doing countryside management before going back to gardening during a summer job at another council, which turned into a management role. That was my first experience of tree nursery work, and I grew thousands of plants for them each year.

During a career break to have children, I lived on a farm and started thinking about ways to diversify it, which led to opening a llama farm which is still running! When my youngest was 10, I got back into work, first at Heartlands and then at Truro City Council, where I worked for six years as Nursery Manager. Again, in this role I produced thousands of plants.

What drew you to the role at Emmaus Cornwall?

I’ve had a combined interest with two things that have always been colliding with each other – my interest in the environment and my gardening side. When I returned to work after my career break, I was really motivated by working with the community too and not just gardening. The role at Emmaus Cornwall sounded like the perfect fit for me because it’s all about the environment, growing plants and getting the local community involved.

The role is part-time, which is perfect too because I’m going back to university to study for an MA in Authorial Illustration, which means that I can choose whatever subject matter interests me and then illustrate it. The two should combine quite well because my subject matter is going to be soil. That’s what I based my BA Fine Art dissertation on so I thought the MA course would be a fabulous way to develop my written research in a visual way that engages people.

Did you know about Emmaus charity and its work before you applied?

No and that shocked me! I had never heard of the organisation at all. I did some background reading once I was interested in the role and just became even more interested after that. Cornwall doesn’t have an Emmaus community yet, so I haven’t fully seen first-hand what the charity offers to people who have experienced homelessness. There are 30 established Emmaus communities across the country and I would love to visit some to see how they run.

Is there anything you would like to say to Emmaus Cornwall supporters or people local to the new tree nursery?

Once we’re up and running, come and see us! Be part of it. Soon, I’ll be getting in touch with some of the local community groups to let them know about us and that we’re here to support them in the future and hope that that they will support us too.

What are you most excited about as Emmaus Cornwall’s new Tree Nursery Manager?

I think it’s two things – I love growing plants and I really love it when people see the joy in growing plants as well. It’s really rewarding, especially seeing something grow from nothing. I’m excited about seeing the nursery grow and hopefully seeing our volunteers grow within the nursery as well.

To find out more about Emmaus Cornwall’s tree nursery and how to get involved, visit here.