Garden Coordinator

We are currently fundraising for a Garden Coordinator, based at our large allotment space in Henley-on-Thames.

Our allotment is a safe space where autistic people can enjoy therapeutic activity in a quiet place, while gaining gardening skills and enjoying enjoy the fresh air.

We are developing the Henley allotment into a thriving community space for all autistic children and adults living in and around Henley-on-Thames. We are grateful to the Rotary Club of Henley-on-Thames for funding a poly-tunnel and building equipment. The Anthony (Tony) Lane Foundation has made a pledged to support the project with gardening equipment and travel costs for our gardeners.

Many adults with autism have little or no budget to access activities, which can lead to isolation and loneliness, especially if they are living independently. Both adults and children with autism are also often affected by sensory overload, which can cause distress to the autistic individual.  Some families are put off taking part in community activities because of other people’s reactions to their child.

Our allotment is a place where autistic children and adults can just ‘be’, providing focus on a range of activities and encouraging more people with autism to enjoy gardening. Gardening is an established form of therapy to improve the health, well-being and inclusion of vulnerable people, with numerous benefits and opportunities:

  • appreciate the cultivation of ‘soil to table’ produce and learn about healthy eating choices.
  • learn gardening skills such as the correct use of tools, how to sow, taking different types of cuttings, plant division, potting on and planting out a range of plants and learning about spacing
  • develop knowledge of plants; identifying common weeds and how to remove them, how to water effectively using hoses and watering cans, how to harvest different fruit and vegetables
  • undertake physical activity such as digging and keeping fit.  The psychological benefits of physical activity can reduce anxiety
  • learn DIY skills, such as using a saw or drill, painting wood and making raised beds
  • enjoy the outdoors -  carrying out tasks in the fresh air, working with nature and observing the seasons
  • work as a team and encouraging people to take individual responsibility helps to raise confidence levels, self-esteem, motivation and concentration
  • make new friends with other gardeners and have social interaction
  • develop the skills and confidence to gain work experience in gardening
  • provide a place for families to get together, reducing feelings of isolation

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