Thursday 13 June 2024
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Nottingham

Brooke Farm helps Pulp Friction to RHS Chelsea Flower Show success

Staff and trainees at Nottinghamshire County Council-run Brooke Farm are celebrating after a garden they helped to create won two coveted awards at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Brooke Farm, based in Linby and home to an employment training programme for adults with learning disabilities, provided space in its heated greenhouses for not-for-profit organisation Pulp Friction to grow a variety of plants for the prestigious event.

The Bestwood-based group, which supports people with learning disabilities, asked for help because its plants needed a warm environment to survive the cold weather ahead of entering its ‘Growing Skills Garden’ in the All About Plants category.

Members of both organisations worked closely together tending to the plants at Brooke Farm in preparation for the show, which took place last week.

Growing Skills Garden angle 2
The focal point of the eye-catching display, which was partly inspired by Sherwood Forest, were five trees to highlight that just five per cent of adults with a learning disability are currently in paid employment.

 

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Now the fruits of labour for both organisations have paid off with the exhibit, made up of edible plants and recycled materials, winning a Silver-Gilt medal and the People’s Choice Award for Small Garden at the world-famous flower show.

 

Growing Skills Garden angle 1
The team grew runner beans, herbs, marigolds and succulents for the garden, and hand-crafted tiles and bird houses.

 

Councillor Jonathan Wheeler, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that our trainees at Brooke Farm have played key role in helping the team at Pulp Friction create an inspirational and award-winning garden for an iconic event such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

“I have no doubt this experience will prove hugely beneficial to them, and they can be rightly proud of their achievements. I must also congratulate the staff and Brooke Farm for their tireless work in supporting the trainees – they do a fantastic job. Well done to everyone.”

Brad Jones, manager at Brooke Farm, said the trainees had taken great pride in their role looking after the plants and gained confidence in their own skills – especially as some of the plants at showpiece event had been grown and looked after by themselves.

He said: “The trainees and staff at Brooke Farm are delighted with the outcome of the garden and the recognition it has received.

“It is so inspiring for our trainees and the Pulp Friction members to see everything come together, to achieve such an amazing outcome after all the hard work they have put in.

“Supporting Pulp Friction in raising awareness that so few of adults with a learning disability are in paid employment is so important to us, and this story will inspire our  Brooke Farm trainees into seeking paid employment and a career in horticulture for many years to come.”

Beth Danks, lead gardener at Pulp Friction, said she and her colleagues were grateful for the support provided by staff and trainees at Brooke Farm.

She said: “The team at Brooke Farm have been a huge support to Pulp Friction.

“Working with Brooke Farm has been a brilliant experience for our Members. Kerry (Hardwick), Slava (Jajecznyk) and their trainees welcomed us into their greenhouses with open arms. We have been able to share skills and create a hopefully long-lasting relationship.

“Brooke Farm worked hard to help us grow our back-up runner beans, (alongside beans grown at The University of Nottingham) as well as Nasturtium, Calendula and the fennel that was used at the show. We were also able to share some of our smaller plants with another garden.

“A big thank you to Brooke Farm. The collaboration worked really well and without partnerships like this we wouldn’t have achieved all that we did at Chelsea.”

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