Garden project benefits all

Daniel Harvey (left) with (l-r) Wayne Beardsley, Brian Guest, Barry Hardy and Patrick Sherry from the RDaSH Workscheme.
Daniel Harvey (left) with (l-r) Wayne Beardsley, Brian Guest, Barry Hardy and Patrick Sherry from the RDaSH Workscheme.

A group of Doncaster adults with a learning disability are involved in a unique project to transform the garden of a Hatfield man who sustained a brain injury in childhood.

Members of the Workscheme - a day service run by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) - are transforming the garden of 20-year old Daniel Harvey, who heard about the service while volunteering with Flourish Enterprises, a budding social enterprise, which is supported by RDaSH. It provides work and vocational opportunities to people with mental health needs, and disabilities, who need support to get back into education or employment.

Daniel receives round the clock care from JSP Parker Ltd, who specialise in brain and spinal injury case management and rehabilitation. They worked with staff from Flourish and RDaSH to secure a place for Daniel volunteering in the Walled Garden at Balby. Over the past 18 months he has been taking care of plants, and helping out in the shop one day each week.

When he recently moved into his new home, Daniel wanted to put his gardening skills to good use. RDaSH staff suggested he visited the Workscheme, which helps adults with learning disabilities develop a wide range of woodworking skills from building bird tables to French polishing furniture.

Workscheme Team Leader Patrick Sherry said: “Daniel came to us looking for raised planters, but when he saw what we could do the project grew.

“We’ve worked with him to design a 12 foot wide, open-fronted potting shed, with fittings specifically tailored to his needs, including a left-handed potting table at the right height to accommodate his wheelchair, as well as a second 16 foot wide summerhouse for him to relax in out of the sun.”

The size and scale of the buildings means that instead of making them in the workshop, the service users are gaining valuable experience by visiting Daniel’s home to construct the buildings two-days a week.

Patrick added: “This is hugely beneficial to our service users. As well as providing them with meaningful activity, it’s giving them a chance to showcase their woodworking skills to the wider community, instead of being in the workshop five days a week.”

Claire Wright, Senior Case Manage at JS Parker Ltd said: “The bespoke buildings have enabled Dan to get stuck in from the start – seedling to plant. He gets enormous pleasure from seeing life flourish.

“Patrick and the team have been wonderfully understanding; their vision and willingness to make it happen has been amazing. No-one anticipated just how beneficial the project would be, not just on a practical level but also socially and emotionally. The beaming smile and belly chortles from Dan say it all.”