Local community comes together to build pond for learning disabled adults
Learning disabled adults at a day service in Ugley, Essex have completed works on a new pond, with the help of the local community, to promote sustainability and provide a much-needed home for their recently-acquired fish.
The pond has been in the works for a long time, with staff and the people supported at the day service, which is run by learning disability charity Hft, first coming up with the idea in 2021. Finally, after many discussions around the risks and logistics of the build, the pond came to life this month.
The day service, which doubles as a garden centre, already featured an old construction which was originally used as a herb wheel in the 1980s. The main feature of the herb wheel was a sun dial which had previously been restored by staff in the early 2000s. The team decided this construction would be perfect for the pond and so began repurposing it.
Staff, family members, volunteers and the people supported by Hft all contributed to the build, digging up gravel, removing breeze blocks and cleaning the herb wheel so it looked closer to its old self. Members of the public who visited the garden centre even found themselves lending a hand.
Now, the new pond has taken shape and has been finished with water plants. The service hopes that, next spring, this will provide a much-needed home for the wildlife and their fish, which were donated to the garden centre by one of the staff members.
This pond is one of many environment-themed projects undertaken by the day service and can be added to a portfolio of projects including a flourishing garden centre and summer house, which initially inspired the pond.
Irena Adomaitiene, Day Services Manager at Hft, explains:
“The pond is a huge achievement for the people we support, staff and all the volunteers who helped with the project. We have not only brightened the environment but have also promoted sustainability by recycling and reusing leftover materials from previous projects. And the satisfaction that came with the final result has given everyone a sense of hope.”
Notes to editors
Hft is a national charity that creatively supports more than 2,200 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Services range from residential care to supporting people to live independently in their own homes – 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.
Established in 1962, Hft is funded in two ways: through local authorities, who fund vital support services, but also through donors, supporters and volunteers who enable us to find new ways to help more people to thrive rather than just get by.
For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk