October 23 2020: Teamwork Trust's new gardening service for local businesses will mean greater skills, better job prospects and more community involvement for people with special needs.

Autistic adults and adults with learning disabilities and mental health needs at Teamwork Trust will be using the landscaped garden at Telford Mann Pensions & Investments’ new Kettering offices to pilot their innovative ‘Gardening for All’ enterprise project.

Service-users will learn how to plant, weed, mow and other basic gardening skills over the next six months so that they can roll out a fully operational, COVID-safe gardening service to Northamptonshire companies next spring.

The pilot has been made possible thanks to regular donations from Telford Mann and a £9,000 National Lottery Community Fund grant.

Victoria Bell, Head of Development at Teamwork Trust said: “Our ‘Gardening for All’ project will eventually offer a new income stream for our charity at a time when we need it the most – it is incredibly exciting and we’re thrilled that our long-term business supporters at Telford Mann are enabling us to pilot this new service offering. We can’t wait to help them keep their flowerbeds looking beautiful.

“Our service-users love learning new skills and feel proudest when they’re playing an active part in the local community. Their idea to develop a valuable gardening service will make all these things possible and more – being outdoors, staying socially distanced and active, and breaking down barriers too which might even lead to employment. Thanks to the support from Telford Mann and the National Lottery Community Fund, we can put everything in place to make it a sustainable service.”

‘Gardening for All’ will run alongside the manufacturing opportunities at Teamwork’s Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough centres, and also complement the charity’s new digital Living & Learning services. It will be entirely service-user-led with staff simply supporting service-users where needed.

Jilly Mann, Joint Managing Director at Telford Mann said: “We were looking for a gardener to maintain the 1.2 acres of outside space at our new offices in Kettering. We have around seven flowerbeds which have just been landscaped, so Teamwork Trust came to us with their idea at just the right time.”

Natasha Duncan, Telford Mann’s Senior Chartered Financial Planner, added: “People with learning disabilities want to feel valued and the service-users at Teamwork have skills that we need. We have supported the charity in lots of different ways over the years, but this time they’ll be helping us as much as we’ll be helping them. If we can assist them to create the right service model it could really take off.”

For more information on our enabling programme and other support services click HERE.