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When the Aldingbourne Trust was founded over 40 years ago, the centre focused solely on horticulture. Today it has over 14 social enterprises, however horticulture is still at the heart of the Aldingbourne Country Centre, as it provides hands on learning and development opportunities for the people we support with learning disabilities and/or autism.
James Simpson has been attending the Country Centre for over 10 years now, and he has developed a vast knowledge of horticulture that he is often giving advice to others and helps to identify plants around the centre. He has grown many plants and trees from seeds, including the Alder which was recently planted by the Duke of Gloucester to commemorate his visit to the Aldingbourne Country Centre earlier in the summer.
James loves to maintain the orchard at the Country Centre where there are many varieties of apples and pears growing. “My favourite apple is a cross between and apple and a pear, but tastes sweet like a pineapple” said James. He has recently started to grow a new apple tree, using a seed from an apple a colleague had for his lunch.
The horticulture enterprise is supported by volunteers who work closely, and often one-to-one with the people the Trust supports. Clare Seaby has been volunteering at the country centre since last November, Clare says “This is my happy place, I love to come and volunteer here as I enjoy the interaction with the clients, it is extremely rewarding and I really enjoy being here.” Clare enjoys volunteering here so much, she was telling her neighbour Kath about the Trust, and now Kath volunteers at the centre alongside Clare.
Kath Sartin has been volunteering for three months now, she said “Clare’s face would light up when she was telling me what she had been doing that day with the people she was supporting. So I decided I would volunteer too, I look forward to coming each week.”
The Trust is always looking for new volunteers to support their horticulture and other enterprises. Every volunteer makes a real difference to the people they support. If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering with the Trust please contact Tracy Milward on 01243 544607 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why not pop along to find out more, as you can visit the horticulture department and café at the Aldingbourne Country Centre with