Horticultural Day Centre






The Molesey Horticultural Centre was established in 1985 to provide employment and therapeutic training for people with learning disabilities. It is set in 7 acres of ground in a peaceful, beautiful site by the River Ember. The facility comprises a purpose built block with office space, art and craft and woodworking rooms, disabled access and toilet. There are also a large heated greenhouse, polytunnel and shade tunnel and extensive areas of raised vegetable beds, willow plantations, wildlife areas and lawns.

The Centre provides day care placements for men and women with learning disabilities. The current client group consists of 31 adults with learning disabilities some of whom also have physical impairments. The size of the average daily group is 15 and service users attend anything from one day to five days per week.

Our aim is to give service users opportunities to develop their skills, confidence and self esteem through a structured programme of training and work experience. The philosophy is strongly influenced by O’Brien’s five service accomplishments:

• Community Presence
• Developing relationships
• Choice
• Rights, Status & Dignity
• Skills and competence development

Every effort is made to tailor weekly programmes to the needs and wishes of the individual and we work closely with carers and outside agencies to promote the welfare of service users holistically.

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Horticulture has long been recognised for the therapeutic benefits of working in the open air and following the cyclic rhythms of nature. We garden organically, using only compost and manure (collected from local horse riding stables). The area under cultivation is expanding and produces a large amount of fruit, herbs and vegetables which we sell to visitors and by delivery to local day centres and a weekly stall in Molesey during spring and summer. Crops are started in our greenhouse and service users participate in all stages of growing through to harvesting, packing and delivery. They also help run the stall.

Every spring we buy in several hundreds of plant plugs which we grow on as summer bedding. This is very popular with our many local customers who like to pop in for a bargain and we also send trays of plants out with the vegetables.

Garden Maintenance
On two days per week teams go out in our crew cab tipper and carry out paid garden maintenance work, mainly in private gardens for elderly people. The service is very popular with a long waiting list of customers. Team members enjoy the contact with the community and work very hard.

Willow growing
We have a number of plantations of decorative willow which we harvest and sell either as a raw material or make into various products and artefacts such as garden obelisks or Christmas wreaths. This has proved an ideal activity for the cold, wet months of winter.

Arts & Crafts
Service users work with our two part time art instructors using a variety of media. This activity provides a good contrast to the more physical tasks of horticulture and provides an outlet for self expression. Recent projects have included an exhibition of papier mâché heads shown at a local library and a wall mosaic installed at the Centre. We have been given an award for this project by the R C Sherriff Trust, a local charity devoted to the furtherance of the arts in Elmbridge.

The Centre has a well-equipped craft room and a woodwork instructor who teaches on two days per week. Teams tackle indoor projects as well as making timber structures needed around the site. Great emphasis is put on supporting service users of all abilities to gain a sense of achievement.

Open College Network
The Centre has recently had its own local programme of certificated learning approved by Surrey and Region Open College Network. The Open College Network aims to provide a greater availability and choice of learning for young people and adults by providing a validation service for education and training courses. The flexibility of its system of achieving credit through learning in small, manageable steps make it particularly suitable for learning disabilities.

We are launching the programme with a core curriculum of two modules: garden maintenance and nursery skills.

Other activities
We believe in a good balance between work and recreation and therefore offer a programme of educational outings from the Centre. Recent trips have included visits to the London Wetlands Centre and the Swingbridge Community Boat. Another popular diversion is our round of seasonal festivals which give us all the chance to relax and let our hair down with our own versions of “It’s a Knockout”

In May each year we offer a five day holiday to various activity centres around the country such as the Low Mill Centre in the Yorkshire Dales and the Nancy Oldfield Centre in Norfolk. Service users have enjoyed a wide variety of activities from zip-wire jumps and abseiling to bird watching and pub meals. Besides the challenge and excitement of these there is the opportunity to get to know each other in a new setting.

Molesey Horticultural Centre
Orchard Lane
East Molesey
Surrey KT8 0BN

Telephone & Fax: 020 8398 1140
E-mail: manager.horti@orionecare.org

If you volunteer you will be assisting our staff and service users at the Molesey Horticultural Centre. The Centre is located in a beautiful and peaceful seven acre site by the River Mole.

The structured day of activities provides opportunities for adults with learning disabilities to acquire skills, develop their confidence and self esteem through real achievements. Although most of the work is in Horticulture you will also be involved in various other activities.

After a lot of hard work from our dedicated staff and service users we recently installed a wall mosaic on site. This was funded by the RCSherriff Trust and was unveiled by the Mayor of Elmbridge. For recreation we have seasonal festivals on our field and send a group away on an activity holiday every year. This year we went to the Bendrigg Trust in the Lake District.

Our client group is around thirty with a staff team of eight. We have an enormous site here which we struggle to maintain against the never ending assault of weeds! We would appreciate help from anybody with time and energy to spare. Horticultural expertise, while useful, is not essential; more important are dedication and an appreciation of the needs of our service users.

If you are interested or would like more information please contact the
Manager, David Metherell.

The Sons of Divine Providence
Orchard Lane, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 OBN
Tel/fax: 020 8398 1140 E-mail: manager.horti@orionecare.org
Registered charity No. 1088675.

The Molesey Horticultural Centre
Requires Volunteers