2024-06-28 11:44:04

Learning disabled man from Surrey finds an unusual use for old toilets

A learning disabled man from Surrey has been taking upcycling to another level with his unique garden planters.

Lawrence, who attends the Kingston Day Opportunities Resource Centre, a day service for learning disabled adults run by charity Hft, saw a unique opportunity two years ago when he found out there was a spare, unused toilet left over from a recent renovation.

Being a keen plumber, he was able to dismantle, clean and put the toilet back together. The end result was an upcycled toilet that could be used as a unique planter.

Lawrence now enjoys growing flowers in the unusual planter. It’s taken pride of place in the community garden, alongside a shopping trolley he upcycled to grow strawberries in.

Flexible Support Development Manager at Hft, Melissa Hulbert, says Lawrence loves learning about the plumbing process and finding out how things are put together.

Lawrence is pictured in the garden with his 'toilet planter' filled with bright flowers.

Lawrence with his toilet planter.


“He also enjoys drawing very detailed and beautiful pictures of toilets, washing machines and pipes. He loves plumbing so much that he’s always had a goal of working in a plumbing shop and we were thrilled to be able to support Lawrence in doing just that – he now enjoys volunteering at his local plumbing supplies shop,” explains Melissa.

“Upcycling is such a great way for us to reduce our waste by taking unused materials and repurposing for use in other areas.”

As we celebrated National Upcycling Day on 24 June, it’s refreshing to see the creative ways that unused or unwanted items can be upcycled and have a new lease of life.

Notes to editors

For further information please phone 07500 224654 or email media.enquiries@hft.org.uk

About Hft

Proudly established in 1962 by a group of visionary parents, Hft is a charity supporting more than 2,500 learning disabled adults in England and Wales. Together, we are creating a future where learning disabled people and their families can live the best life possible.

Providing personalised support. Creating solutions for living independently. Coming together to campaign for positive change. Fundraising for new opportunities and a bigger impact.

In 2033, we’ll live in a world where learning disabled people have greater choice. About where they live. The support they need and want. And how to spend their time and money.


Learning disability versus difficulty


A learning disability is different from a learning difficulty but the terms are often confused and used inter-changeably. A learning difficulty does not affect general intellect, whereas a learning disability is a life-long condition characterised by a reduced intellectual ability and struggle with everyday activities.

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