Highfields Gardening Hub proves popular

ECL Chelmsford – Highfields Day Service has transformed its garage space into horticulture hub for customers to enjoy.

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The space opened on the 30th of January and is now home to the twenty customers who have transitioned over from the Greenacres Horticulture Service.

Customers of the service officially opened the space with a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebrated by personalising their own boot bags as well as getting stuck straight into the gardening – clearing the leaves, weeding the beds and making some vegetable patches.

Customers were given the opportunity to choose a name for the space in their customer forum and they have chosen to call it ‘Highfields Gardening Hub’. The space has proved to be very popular and those customers that have moved over from Greenacres have settled in very well.

Lucy Petrie, Learning Disabilities Service Manager at ECL Highfields said: “As this was a big change for the customers, we wanted them to feel welcomed and allow them to settle in. This is why we had them cut the ribbon and officially open their new centre. One gentleman was extremely nervous on his first day. In the morning he had his head down, backed up against the wall not making eye contact with anyone. His friend gave some reassurance and staff made him feel welcomed and included, and as the day progressed you could start to see him relax and make eye contact and smile a little. By the end of the day, he was complementary to the staff and was cracking jokes, such a difference to the morning which was so nice to see.

“While the customers were said about Greenacres closing they have all said they really like Highfields. Some customers have joined in with other sessions on offer at Highfields including the ‘shop and cook’ session to make their lunch which is great. Some existing Highfields customers have also chosen to take part in the gardening sessions too, so it’s proving to be very popular! It has also enticed one customer back to attending day services who hadn’t returned to Greenacres since the pandemic, which is just fantastic.”

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