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Clients’ stories

Clients & their stories

A grant for a wheelchair user fired her imagination as well as her green fingers!
I just wanted to drop you a line to say a massive thanks for the grant for the garden. It has changed my access to the garden and the garden itself beyond belief. 
 
We had a wonderful army of HelpX volunteers in over the summer. I set to work feeding and directing them, and they spent sunny (and rainy) days removing the old patio (which we sent to a community home for repurposing) and digging out masses of old soil. Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, it seemed endless! Even worse, it was badly contaminated with broken glass and crocks, but they filtered every last bit so we could send the surplus to the local community project for the children's growing beds. Even with all this, we generated a lot of rubbish which had to be taken away, so the grant was a huge help with those essential costs. Once the garden was level, the volunteers dug a trench to house the ramp, and finished it with a layer of recycled bricks and paving slabs. We saved your kind budget to invest in some really solid 'sleepers' to make the raised beds, which were then lined with black polythene. I have a feeling these will be here for a long time! Finally we were ready for the earth to go back in, and you can see from the pictures I already have a bunch of plants ready to start growing. We were then able to use the rest of the budget to pay a friendly local tradeswoman to come and concrete the back patio, giving me wonderful, liberating level wheelchair access. 
 
You grant meant much more than the 'bits' we were able to fund. It really fired my imagination and got me dreaming. While we were doing all this work, I managed to find an old insulated shed on Gumtree - complete with a wood fire stove - which I bought to create a studio / work space. I actually sold the stove but kept the shed, which meant I was quids in (or at least broke even) effectively getting a fully insulated shed for nowt. I raided my piggy bank to invest in a some new fences, and essentials like drainage. I also found patch of good quality fake grass on gumtree - not my normal approach, but exceedingly useful if (like me) you can't wield a lawnmower and a nice finishing touch of greenery. The view from the back window is transformed!!!   
 
So as you can see, overall, the whole garden ended up with a makeover, not just the 'sunny corner'. I wanted you to see how far the grant plus a dollop of ingenuity and masses of volunteer enthusiasm took me - it is amazing what my wonderful army of helpers achieved. I appreciate it all looks a bit bleak, without planting and in the winter gloom. But the potential come Spring- and the fact I can actually get out into the garden at all. I just couldn't have done it without you! Now I have my wheelchair ramp and raised beds, I am all set up to start planting and promise more pictures when Spring and all its green arrives. 
 
Light, Manoeuvrable Trolleys for a sheltered residential community in Lancashire

Stanley Grange is a small sheltered residential community set in rural Lancashire providing homes for adults with learning disabilities, many of whose families and financing local authorities come from all over the UK.

It is a vibrant happy place with small scale housing which can caters for up to 42 people, all arranged around a central village green and a community hall for social activities.

Stanley Grange is working hard to develop services that provide opportunities for employment, education, training and volunteering. This includes a thriving garden centre that is being upgraded after many years of neglect. Fifteen of the residents currently work here, propagating, caring and nurturing a good selection of plants, which are for sale to general public, along with hanging baskets and Christmas Wreaths. Willow is grown to make sculptures, and wooden planters are also made.

GDT were delighted to provide a grant that enabled the purchase of 4 sturdy trolleys with which to transport plants, soil and general gardening equipment around the nursery. Trustee David Bell was extremely grateful and said “Being able to purchase the trolleys will be a tremendous help and make such a difference as they are items that we have needed for some time”

One of the GDT committee members was able to pay Stanley Grange a visit over the summer and was delighted to meet several residents, including Mark, whose passion, (amongst a few others!) is growing vegetables. He said the trolleys were light, manoverable and incredibly useful.

Raised Beds for a passionate gardener with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Elaine tells her story:

Hello I’m Elaine,

I’m passionate about my garden, recycling items which would be otherwise destined for the bin and my dog Bear, oh and I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which isa disorder that affects connective tissues supporting the skin, bones, blood vessels, and many other organs and tissues.

My condition limits my ability to get out ‘n’ about and so my garden is very important to me. It enables me to engage with nature, develop habitats and grow plants that benefit/encourage wildlife and also grow organic fruit and vegetables for myself and my family. This in turn helps me both emotionally and physically.

Last year I had a raised vegetable bed made out of recycled wooden flooring, but this was completely unsuccessful due to the nature of the materials used. I feel extremely fortunate to have received a grant from the Gardening for Disabled Trust. With this grant I am now able to have a raised bed built which will last years.

I have had recycled slate floor tiles put in to hold back the soil in the borders. These surround the new raised bed with a pathway between the two. In these borders I have planted rhubarb, loganberries, blackberries, strawberries, currents, a fig, a mulberry and a quince.

I have pot grown tomatoes, courgettes, squash and peppers as the raised bed wasn’t finished in time but I am very excited and looking forward to growing a wide variety of vegetables in it next year.

Thank you again to Gardening for Disabled Trust for making this possible and which will enable me to follow my passion in gardening for many more years to come.