We use the term gardening very loosely. We have a green space, attached to one of Osterley Park's lodges which we are turning into a community garden. Our project supports young people with learning disabilities or autism learn skills and gain confidence, be active and, most importantly, make a contribution to our community. We need volunteers with the ability to engage with our young people and work alongside them to complete the day's tasks. Gardening can include weeding, clearing overgrowth, making compost, cutting grass, trimming hedges, planting seeds, repotting plants. As we are making significant changes to the space work may also include making paths, clearing rubbish, levelling the ground, removing old bricks, sweeping and cleaning up. We enjoy upcycling and will paint old tin cans and generally try to 'make something from nothing'. We have tasks at all levels of ability and knowledge and will endeavour to match you to a task that is interesting and enjoyable, although this cannot be guaranteed. Feedback from volunteers is overwhelmingly positive: many report that they become more noticeable to employers and/or being selected for new challenges. Volunteers who wish to commit to a minimum of six-week volunteering can participate on our volunteer development programme. Please ask for more information. Lunch and travel expenses will be provided. We welcome individuals and groups. If you are a large group we can offer something tailored to your specific needs. We frequently host special schools and supported learning providers, teams from The Princes Trust and (by special arrangement) NCS. Unlike other organisations, we do not charge for corporate team-building days as we have a long list of jobs that need doing and appreciate all help. If you wish to use the space for a barbeque at the end of your contribution the venue is available for hire.
Our minimum age for volunteers is 18. This is because you will be in an environment that supports vulnerable people who may, on occasion, experience difficulties and they must remain our priority.
Participants need to wear old clothing that may get splashed in paint or covered in mud. Closed toe footwear is essential - old trainers or wellies, steel capped boots (if you have them) when we are doing heavy work will get you in the middle of the action. You are at risk of sunburn or a soaking. Although we do have access to indoor space, we usually work through light rain.
Creating a community garden with help from young people with learning or other disability such as autism.
Our Barn supports young people with learning disabilities or autism make a successful transition to adult life. We have a strong ethos that everyone can make a contribution, including those with significant impairments. In the past year our project has donated over 4,000 volunteering hours to open green spaces. We have been very fortunate to gain access to Jubilee Lodge within the grounds of Osterley Park, a National Trust property. This is a beautiful and secure space where young people can be active and gain skills, leading to increases in confidence, aspirations and (we hope) independence. We were founded in 2014 by 3 parents of young disabled men.