Community garden in Merseyside giving people with disabilities and autism a place to grow

Report by Granada Reports Merseyside Correspondent Andy Bonner.

A new service in Merseyside is turning the tables on traditional day care and offering people with disabilities and autism a place to learn and grow.

Members of the Your Voice Your Choice group have created a garden at their centre in Halewood, and want people across the wider area to come and enjoy the space and become a part of the community.

The centre runs a range of activities, including singing and music sessions, while outside the garden helps people to grow and express themselves.

Community Garden in Halewood, run by Your Voice Your Choice Credit: ITV News

Carole Mawdsley, one of the gardeners, says: "It makes them feel happy. They start with the seed. They watch it grow.

"They absolutely love the responsibility of growing. It makes them feel valued.

"They also feel that they've got a real responsibility, which is something that is really important for them."

Lilac Barr is one of those who tends to the plants, and she says she wants to see local people use the garden as a place to socialise.

She says: "People who are more isolated in the community, like the elderly, who may not have loads of relatives or friends, they'll be able to come here for a cup of tea, all the barbecue, a little coffee morning."

The centre runs a range of activities, including singing and music sessions. Credit: ITV News

Some of those who enjoy the garden and the activities on offer say it has given them confidence and helped them make friends.

After spending time learning and experiencing new skills, the members can go on to volunteer, and hopefully even get paid by firms wanting to make the most of their abilities.

Jenny Day, the founder of Your Voice Your Choice says: "Members are fully involved in the service, so that's the biggest difference. We give people decision-making and choices.

"It'd be really easy to put on activities or take people out for the day, but the members deserve more."

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