Gardening gurus help raise thousands for adults with learning disabilities

A panel of gardening experts has helped to raise more than £3,000 to fund the creation of a new space at a learning disability service run by national charity Hft.

The five prominent gardeners held an entertaining and informative 90-minute question and answer session at Whichford Pottery on 27 September. They successfully solved questions from green-fingered members of the public covering a plethora of gardening dilemmas -ranging from how to grow pak choi to growing trees in clay soil and dealing with fungus.

The panel was chaired by Stefan Buczacki, prominent horticulturist and author and included Jane Perrone, writer and former gardening editor for The Guardian, Sarah Malleson, Head Gardener at Hidcote Manor’s National Trust garden, Paul Williams, author and expert on container gardening, garden design and plantsmanship and Pershore College lecturer Duncan Coombs.

Lisa Harrison, Divisional Fundraising Manager, said: “Everyone involved really enjoyed this event. We’re so grateful to the gardeners for giving their time, knowledge and experience to Hft to raise much-needed funds. We hope to do more great events like this that allow people with learning disabilities to live the best life possible.”

The 60 guests had the chance to learn more about Hft, whilst enjoying canapes made and served by people supported locally by the charity, who was instrumental in helping to promote and execute the event.

Judy Johnson, Registered Cluster Manager for the region, said: “The people we support loved representing Hft at this brilliant event, where they served canapes to guests and were there to meet and greet everyone arriving. Activities like these provide transferable skills spanning from customer service to catering, helping to equip people we support with the experience and confidence to find voluntary or paid employment. Other people at our service in Moreton also distributed flyers, put up posters and sold raffle tickets as part of this fantastic team effort.

“It was clear to see that the critical role played by people supported by Hft also boosted their confidence, even leading to two green-fingered people putting their own questions to the panel.”

Money raised is set to go towards building a new conservatory at an Hft service in Moreton in Marsh. The supported living service’s residents are keen gardeners and take great pride in their garden, which is already equipped with a pergola and various items designed to stimulate the senses. It’s hoped that the new conservatory will provide a much-needed space for reflection and quiet-time, with the animal-loving residents also able to enjoy some birdwatching. More events are set to take place locally in the run-up to Christmas to raise the remaining funds needed.

If you have an idea for a fundraising activity you might like to take on, please email