In a week when the debate about the role of people with special needs and disabilities in the workplace has been in the news I was delighted to be able to visit People and Gardens.
People and Gardens is a Community Interest Company (not for profit) based at Watering Lane Nursery between Porthpean and Pentewan. It was set up and is still run by Ken Radford, and supported by The Eden Project, providing work opportunities for people with special education needs.
People and Gardens truly is an inspiring place. It was set up to enable people with learning disabilities or emotional impairments to be able to develop as individuals, to learn work and social skills and to have equality of choice and opportunity in the workplace.
Although the business receives financial support from Cornwall Council from their adult social care budget, the aim is to become self-sufficient. All of the staff are dedicated to providing a positive and worthwhile work experience for those that come and work there. It gives people a sense of purpose and fulfilment as well as growing some very nice veg.
With the current budget pressures facing Cornwall Council I am concerned that this type of project is an easy target for cuts in funding. However, I believe the value of the service People and Gardens provides goes way beyond the amount of money they receive from the Council. I will certainly be supporting them and doing all I can to ensure they continue to get the funding they need to be able to continue the brilliant and vital work they do.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there and found it to be an inspiring example of what can be done to help people in our communities who need this type of support. You can find more details of People and Gardens here http://www.peopleandgardens.co.uk/ One of the ways we can all support the work they do is by signing up to receive one of their veg bags.