From Cornwall to Ghana: decking upcycling making a difference

Gripsure non-slip timber deck boards upcycled into garden planters for charity

Retired local minister Peter Willows is raising money for a new maternity unit in Ghana - by selling planters made from timber offcuts of Gripsure non-slip decking.

Peter has made dozens of the popular garden troughs, which he then sells on Facebook.
The money Peter collects goes towards The King’s Village, a project in Northern Ghana, Africa. The charity provides healthcare, education and development to the country’s poorest communities.

Peter’s planters have so far helped to raise more than £3,000 towards a £150,000 target to build a new life-saving maternity unit in the area.

I’m so pleased with how well the planters been selling,” said Peter, 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, who were very helpful.

Peter, who lives in nearby Cornish town St Austell, was invited to come along to Gripsure’s site, 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 Peter. “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.

Peter, who admits he’s a novice woodworker, said he really enjoys making his planters of various sizes – and is just about keeping up with demand.

I’m not a professional carpenter – I was a minister in a church,” said Peter. “But I started doing woodwork recently and got to like it,” he added, explaining how he makes his planters. “I get hold of the wood and cut them to length and then join them together. It’s a case of glue and screw, really!

I get a huge amount of satisfaction on the one hand of taking, what is in one sense scrap and turning it into something people want.

Peter 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 Managing Director 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.

Every day we work hard to reuse and reduce any waste from the business. All our paper, plastic and timber offcuts are recycled. We really like collaborating with local craftsmen who upcycle our decking offcuts into beautiful and unique products.
“We’re also pleased that our family business in Cornwall has helped to play some part in helping communities in Northern Ghana.

Find out more

To learn more about the fantastic work Peter gets up to, feel free to reach out to him at