Hft celebrates rejuvenation of garden centre


An event has taken place in Ugley to celebrate the completion of a project aimed at increasing independence and broadening opportunities for personal growth for people with learning disabilities.

Fundraising efforts have raised £110,000 to rejuvenate the Ugley Garden and Learning Development Centre run by learning disabilities charity, Hft, at its Hertfordshire and Essex service.

The money raised has been used to improve accessibility and provide training and learning opportunities in gardening and pottery.

On Tuesday (20 September) around 100 guests integral to the development of the project, including people supported by Hft and their families, staff, trustees, volunteers and fundraisers were invited to join the celebrations.

Groups were given guided tours of the garden centre before enjoying an outdoor hog roast followed by a series of speeches.  Among those who spoke was Hft’s Chief Executive, Robert Longley-Cook, who gave a presentation highlighting the difference the funds raised had made to the service.

Other speeches included Hft’s Major Partnerships Manager, Hilary Colbert, who thanked guests for their generosity and ongoing commitment to the completion of the project.  Family member, Bob Grimmett, also spoke about the positive impact of the newly updated learning development centre for his daughter and the other residents.

The event drew to a close with the presentation of paintings of birds commissioned by families to two members of staff and a volunteer in recognition of their hard work throughout this project.

Mr Longley-Cook said the event was a chance to celebrate the completion of the project and showcase how the service had evolved.

“In these challenging economic times, fundraising efforts are vital in supporting the creative design of our services, to ensure we can continue to provide the best possible support,” he said.

“The regeneration of the garden and learning development centre offers more opportunities for greater levels of independence and personal growth.  This would not have been possible without the generosity and dedication of families, staff and all those who have helped raised the money needed to see this project come to fruition.”

Hft currently supports more than 2,500 people with learning disabilities across the country.  Locally Hft, supports more than 65 people in Hertfordshire and Essex.  Services include supporting people with learning disabilities to live independently in their own homes, providing residential and domiciliary care and offering day services to help people pursue their interests, make new friends and become more involved in their local communities.

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About Hft

Hft is a UK charity supporting more than 2,900 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft, please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance

Subject: Events

Location: Hft Herts & Essex