Garden Science Trust
GST | Helpfreely.org
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Garden Science Trust is a small charity based at the Green Britain Centre in Swaffham, Norfolk. We work mainly with adults with learning difficulties and those with other barriers to education and employment. As well as teaching gardening skills and an understanding of plants, an awareness of the environment and how we interact with it, we also teach basic science skills, learning through experimentation and the collection of data - something rarely offered to people with learning difficulties. GST works with our service users and volunteers in the organic heritage gardens at the Green Britain Centre where we have a portacabin classroom and the shared use of two polytunnels and a plot where we grow an everchanging mix of vegetables, garden flowers and native plants. We passionately believe in gardening as a therapeutic tool. We work hard to help our people learn new skills, keep fit, make friends and eat healthily in a safe supported environment. We also run art and craft classes for those whose disabilities make gardening difficult. Our four dedicated part time staff members work hard to make the sessions fun, interesting and of use to our service users, many of whom have been attending for years. We are very proud of the work we do.
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We have been working hard with our volunteer group to refurbish our portacabin classroom and have recently begun to offer regular art and craft sessions. These have proved enormously popular.and are currently oversubscribed. We want to use our sessions to educate and inform about the natural world and our place in it and would like to extend the sessions. As ever, our theme is always horticultural and educational at root. We use a vast array of materials and resources and work hard to encourage our service users to be creative. So many of our people have never been given the opportunity to be so and it is lovely to see their imaginations and skills blossoming. We hope that we can encourage people to be more observant and to learn and understand what they see around them. Working together, using as many materials as possible and really enjoying themselves are all important aims for this project. As well we work to foster an understanding of the natural world and all its tiny miracles. We believe we can really help our people with this creative project and so are trying to raise money to keep the project going and hopefully eventually to get our groups working outdoors as often as possible and growing plants with a real understanding of how it all works.
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