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Autism friendly gardening group formed for Teesside adults

Daisy Chain, the Teesside-based charity for people with autism, has founded a gardening group for its adult service users, and is encouraging them to flex their green fingers.

Autism friendly gardening group formed for Teesside adults

"Daisy Chains new gardening support service is a unique opportunity where adults and young people with autism can plant, nurture and grow flowers and produce."
Hayley Matthews, head of adult services

The weekly sessions, held at the charity’s day centre in Norton, offer adults with autism the chance to gain valuable skills and work experience, as well as an opportunity to connect with others and reduce loneliness and isolation.

For individuals with autism, gardening groups can provide a wide range of benefits, which include:

  • Working in a calm, quiet and natural environment can help to promote positive wellbeing and reduce over-stimulation
  • It provides participants with an opportunity to develop new skills, experience and confidence relating to gardening and employability.
  • Working in a small group promotes cooperation, communication, team work and reduces loneliness and isolation.
  • It is a fully inclusive activity because there is something to do for everyone and a garden is a team effort

Along with the service users, the charity is also reaping the benefits of the gardening group through its social enterprise arm. Flowers, fruit and vegetables grown by the service users are sold to help generate income which is reinvested in services offered by Daisy Chain.

Hayley Matthews, head of adult services at Daisy Chain, said: “Daisy Chain’s new gardening support service is a unique opportunity where adults and young people with autism can plant, nurture and grow flowers and produce. 

“Certainly, the feedback that we have had from the groups so far is that they feel a sense of self-worth devoid of any social pressure.  This is combined with the sight of the colourful flowers from their garden and the confidence boost from tasting the fruit and vegetables that they have grown. 

“Furthermore, they are all super excited that they will get the opportunity to raise more funds for the charity by selling their farm fresh produce at Daisy Chain’s Superstore on Portrack Lane.”

Daniel Radmore, a member of the gardening group, said: “"I enjoy the practical sessions at Daisy Chain because I enjoy being busy, and there’s always plenty to do around the farm. The sessions get me out of the house and interacting with other people that I get along with, which otherwise can sometimes be a struggle.

“Working in the fresh air is really good for both physical and mental health and the staff are always really friendly and helpful.  I do as many sessions as I can with Daisy Chain because they give me a really good sense of purpose."

To find out more about Daisy Chain’s gardening group, or to apply to a session, please contact the Day Centre on 01642 531248 or info@daisychainproject.co.uk.


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