Style Acre works in partnership to run a market garden with Sustainable Wantage and Wantage Day Service. People we support, support staff and volunteers have transformed a dilapidated area into a thriving garden, which produces flowers, vegetables and fruit. The garden gives adults with learning disabilities and autism an opportunity to enjoy the recreational and therapeutic benefits of gardening, to be involved in rewarding occupation in an attractive, quiet, safe environment and gain meaningful work experience. Some of the produce grown by our people is taken home and some is delivered to our tearoom nearby. Currently there are 26 regular users of the Market Garden from Style Acre in the summer and 13 in the winter. We also have a garden at our Wallingford day hub.
By fundraising for and recruiting a Garden Coordinator, we are now expanding our gardening activities so that more people can participate. This means that we can tailor our gardening sessions so that people can participate in the way that is most beneficial for them. We are able to extend our gardening sessions at the garden, offering more horticultural therapeutic support, as well as activities which focus on training and skills development for our more able.
Style Acre supports people to live in 36 houses and we want to encourage the residents of the homes to become more involved in tending their own gardens; our Coordinator is now able to support this and improve the garden spaces at the houses.
Working alongside Sustainable Wantage has been a positive partnership. The volunteer group organises courses e.g. with Incredible Edible Oxford, to encourage gardening in the local community. A local Brownie pack has earned their gardening badge by growing seeds, planting out and harvesting at the garden. Together, we organise a community Spring Festival, now into its 4th year, a family friendly event which attracts 200 people.
The garden has 10-15 regular volunteers and we welcome corporate volunteer teams, which have supported us. We are grateful to employees of NatWest, PepsiCo, Vodafone, Lloyds, Lombard and Amey, who have donated hundreds of hours of support, enabling us to keep up with maintenance, build a shed, create paths, compost storage and make raised beds for our wheelchair users.