Practical donation boost for horticultural skills unit

From left, horticulturist Robbie Pendrich, Richard Cook and Carl Martin with some of the garden accessories.
From left, horticulturist Robbie Pendrich, Richard Cook and Carl Martin with some of the garden accessories.

Being able to get their green fingers on a range of plants and garden accessories is helping the skills of people at a learning disability day service to blossom.

All Saints Living will soon start re-developing a former garden centre site next to Newcastle Racecourse in Gosforth.

But first, the company gave everything left behind to Hepscott Park horticultural skills unit, which for the past 31 years has been helping people with learning difficulties to experience the world of work.

This included sales benches and staging, a variety of shrubs and plants, pots and wooden animal figures.

Pam Robson, assistant manager at the Northumberland County Council-run venture that takes learners from Morpeth, Longhorsley and Ashington, among other places, said: “We are very grateful for this fantastic support.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for us as we wish to expand our plant sales to the public. We will propagate and sell the plants in the shop, displaying them in the large variety of pots, while the wooden figures will enhance the woodland walk.”

Carl Martin, an estimator with All Saints Living, said the company immediately thought of the Hepscott Park unit when it saw how much horticultural material had been left behind at the site.

He added: “We’re delighted to have been able to give them a helping hand ahead of the growing season and we hope these plants and garden accessories help them have a wonderful summer.”

The Hepscott site also includes three glasshouses, three polytunnels and several small gardens. Its aim is to develop its sales and employment opportunities within the community for those with learning challenges – supporting them in activities within the community.

One of the learners, Richard Cook from Morpeth, said: “I like the big stones we were given. We are going to make a rockery garden with them and we can use the plant pots and benches to sell more plants.”