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Young people with learning difficulties learn to cook from the ground to the plate

There are green fingers aplenty at an outdoor growing centre designed to motivate people to learn about healthy eating while being physically active.

left to right – Christopher Scott, Rachael Sinclair, Jennifer Bowskills, Ian McCall, Christopher McMillian

The greenhouse-style building has been created at Spinners Gate Resource Centre in Paisley to develop more opportunities for adults with learning disabilities and autism to become involved with gardening and food-growing activities.

Through funding from the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership, individuals have the chance to sow, tend to and harvest their own food.

Using the fresh produce grown, the people supported at Spinners Gate have the chance to learn how to cook from the ground to the plate and understand more about how the meals they prepare will help them live a fit and healthy life.

It is hoped that by developing their growing and cooking skills, and working together as a team, those involved will have improved self-esteem and developed greater self-confidence as a result.

Linda Lightbody, Day Service Manager, said: “This is a fantastic resource which will enable us to provide year-round gardening activities for the people we support.

“We have been keen to develop the outdoor space at Spinners Gate for some time and this is an excellent way of doing so.

“Everyone involved is getting so much out of it and we are really meeting outcomes for individuals, with health benefits, sense of achievement, and pride in what they have achieved.”

The programme will be supported by Tom Malone from Young Enterprise Scotland for the first six months.  A qualified horticulturist, Tom is supporting staff at Spinners Gate to develop the resource to ensure those involved get the most of the facility.

Tom said: “From previous experience I have clearly seen the benefits to physical and mental health of being involved in gardening activities and it’s great to see this resource being developed at Spinners Gate.

“I am really enjoying working with service users and staff, sharing ideas and learning together, so that we can make the resource sustainable for many years to come.”

For more information on support in Renfrewshire for adults with learning difficulties visit:  www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/flexicare.