Community garden giving people a place to grow

A new service in Halewood is turning the tables on traditional day care and offering people with disabilities and autism a place to learn and grow.

Members of the Your Voice Your Choice group have created a garden at their centre in Halewood, and want people across the wider area to come and enjoy the space and become a part of the community.

The centre runs a range of activities, including singing and music sessions, while outside the garden helps people to grow and express themselves.

Carole Mawdsley, business support lead, said: “We are a day service for adults with disabilities and autism and our aim over the coming months is to connect with local people who may be isolated, we have developed a lovely garden and veg garden which includes home made seating from pallets and up cycled tyres as pots.

“The garden makes people feel happy. They start with the seed. They watch it grow. They absolutely love the responsibility of growing. It makes them feel valued.

“They also feel that they’ve got a real responsibility, which is something that is really important for them.”

Lilac Barr is one of those who tends to the plants, said she wants to see local people use the garden as a place to socialise.

Lilac said: “People who are more isolated in the community, like the elderly, who may not have loads of relatives or friends, they'll be able to come here for a cup of tea, all the barbecue, a little coffee morning.”

Some of those who enjoy the garden and the activities on offer say it has given them confidence and helped them make friends.

After spending time learning and experiencing new skills, the members can go on to volunteer, and hopefully even get paid by firms wanting to make the most of their abilities.

Jenny Day, the founder of Your Voice Your Choice said: “Members are fully involved in the service, so that’s the biggest difference. We give people decision-making and choices.

“Our aim over the coming months is to connect with local people who may be isolated. We would like to invite them to help us with our garden or join us for quiz and bingo afternoons, coffee and a chat or perhaps join in one of our arts and crafts sessions. these services will be free

“It’d be really easy to put on activities or take people out for the day, but the members deserve more.”

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