On Wednesday 17th July the long awaited library community garden began to take shape. A very willing group of volunteers from one of the project’s funders, Southern Water, volunteered their time to get the project under way. Other funders include National Lottery (Awards for All) and Fonthill Community Foundation.
The volunteer day is the first of many planned by the project lead Aldingbourne Trust who are spearheading the project. The project aims to provide the community with a safe space to relax and enjoy and also for people to garden for those without their own gardens. The library has been kind enough to grant the Trust a licence for use of the garden and it is hoped that more and more people will visit the library as a result
The volunteer day was the culmination of 2 years planning and signified a momentous day. The temporary Garden Coordinator Lisa Palmer said “It’s great to be finally making progress!” A team of eight staff from Southern Water completed lots of hard work despite the punishing temperature including digging beds, sanding picnic benches, lots of weeding and pruning and preparing the fence for painting.
The design has evolved from a community feedback exercise that was carried out in November 2018 and most of the suggestions such as raised beds and benches has been incorporated. It will be fully accessible with wheelchair accessible raised beds and the planting scheme will have a sensory element to it.
The project has thus far been received well by local businesses and the following local businesses have provided their welcome support including Covers, Chalcroft Nurseries, Outside Interests and B&Q Bognor.
We have further community volunteer days planned on 14th August and 17th August when planting will get under way – another significant milestone in the project’s timeline. It is hoped that the garden will be up and running by the end of August. Once the garden is up and running regular gardening sessions will be scheduled for members of the community to help maintain the garden. If you are interested in volunteering, at any stage of the project please email email@example.com
The Aldingbourne Trust set up a Transition Service in 2018, working in partnership with Chichester College, to enables young people with learning disabilities and/ or autism to learn locally and to live away from home. Learners at the transition service are supported to develop their independent living skills, and develop social networks and friendships. The service is available to anyone attending local college, and is linked to their time there.
One of our transition students Joseph Harrington is studying with Theatre Inc and Performing Arts at Chichester College. Recently Joseph took part in ‘Think Again’ a variety show full of singing, dancing, drama and musical theatre at the Chichester University showroom. The people we support alongside other company members amazed and wowed the audience with their outstanding talent. Joseph said “I had a great time performing in front of the audience, and it was lovely to receive a standing ovation at the end.”
Joseph has a talent with voices and is very interested in presenting and performing. One of his ambitions has always been to find a position as a weather presenter on the radio. One morning in January this year Joseph and his support worker took a stroll along the beach at Bognor Regis and popped into Radio Respect.
Radio Respect is an online Radio Station dedicated to mental health well being. It is run solely by volunteers, and all of their volunteers and presenters suffer with some kind of mental health issue. To help reduce the isolation surrounding mental health, Local G.P's refer their patients to them, to offer peer support and signposting. Radio Respect run shows that include phone ins, interviews and chat based around mental health and of course great music from a variety of genres.
Joseph explained to them what he would like to do, and was very happy to hear that the owner of the radio station was on the look out for a good weather presenter, so they gave Joseph an audition. Joseph did so well, everybody commented on how professional he sounded and how talented he is. Joseph said “Weather reporting is my dream job”, so Joseph arranged with the owner to go along one Saturday morning to pre-record his first session for weather presenting. He was so good at it that he was also asked to pre-record some news items.
Joseph is taking the role very seriously and makes sure he is staying up to date with all the latest weather reports and current affairs. He loves his new role as a weather and news presenter for Radio Respect and has been told that when he’s ready, he may well be given his own live show.
Liz Latter from Radio Respect said “Joseph is fantastic! He has only been coming in for a couple of weeks but in that time Joseph has picked up using the recording software really quickly. The first week he was so nervous and you could see it in his body language. But now he has really gained confidence, he speaks clearly and is very professional. He is a true gentleman! With a little bit more confidence building and practice with the equipment I don't see any reason why Joseph can't go live and have his own show”.
The Duke of Richmond, Patron of the Aldingbourne Trust, declared the Trust’s Quarry Building officially open at a celebration and ceremony at the Aldingbourne Country Centre on Thursday. The Duke’s family have supported the Aldingbourne Trust for many years - the Duke’s father had opened the Centre’s wood recycling project in 2006 - some of this wood is now powering the Quarry Building.
The Duke said, “The Quarry Building is the culmination of 10 years of designing, securing support, funding and construction. It offers a new vision for social care – where local businesses, the community and people who have learning disabilities and/or autism can learn, work and prosper. It’s a model which is attracting international attention. The impressive building is a new West Sussex gem which I would encourage everyone to visit”.
The Aldingbourne Trust took the opportunity to thank everyone involved in supporting them to raise the funds to develop and improve the facilities at the Country Centre. This included people who had jumped out of planes, scaled the Spinnaker Tower, cycled across the UK and Europe, and run marathons. Special thanks were also due to the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership. Tony Middleton, Chief Operating Officer said “We are delighted to support the Aldingbourne Trust, the space here is truly inspiring”.
Two of the Centre’s members, Sean Simmonds & James Weller, spoke about how much they enjoy being involved with all of the opportunities on offer at the Centre and their pride in the new Quarry Building. James said “The new building means a lot to me, it is a place to chat to the public, a place to work, have fun and learn new skills”.
James and Sean look forward to welcoming more visitors, to the impressive building, (which has an indoor slide, café, meeting rooms, shop), & the other enterprises on the site - wood, furniture restoration, horticulture, horse rug washing/repair, open farm and new children’s play areas.