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Grow launches £3m. redevelopment plans

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A £3M. REDEVELOPMENT project will help more islanders with learning disabilities develop the skills for work.

Grow Ltd director Angus Bodman speaking at the launch of its redevelopment plans. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 25759483)

Guernsey’s Rural Occupation Workshop – Grow Limited – has provided development and support to learning disabled individuals for 35 years, however the site needs improvement.

‘You can’t run this place over a force six [wind], over six and the [greenhouse] structure starts to vibrate and once you get to force eight it’s dangerous,’ said Grow director and chair of Mencap Andrew Hyde.

Yesterday plans to enhance the site were launched.

As well as improvements to existing buildings and greenhouses, the plans feature a cafe.

‘The hospitality industry finds it very difficult to find staff, we want to give our crew the skills to be confident and to go out into the workplace,’ said director Marguerite Talmage.

Deputy John Gollop of the Employment & Social Security committee attended the launch.

‘Everybody on the committee including the senior operators are supportive of the project and Grow has received a small grant over the years because of how they support people in acquiring and developing skills.’

Grow manager Eddie Higgins said what was most important about Grow was teaching the crew life skills for securing employment.

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‘It’s about keeping yourself clean, getting yourself to that interview on time.'

He said they hoped Grow would be a hub for other disability charities and the public: ‘We would also like to engage with special needs schools to see Grow as a stepping stone between education and employment.’

Mathew Kerr’s son has been part of the Grow crew for four years and said it was hard to explain its importance.

‘When they come on their first day, they’re very nervous, usually scared, frightened, they don’t speak, they’re very quiet and within six months, they’ve made new friends and you can’t stop them talking.

‘I’ve had parents say to me, what’s happened to my son. I’ve never known him talk so much. It’s unbelievable.

‘It puts routine in their week and makes them feel just like everybody else, they can say “I’m going to work” and they get a little pay packet, and it’s the friendship and support they receive at Grow Limited.’

Charlotte Le Marquand

By Charlotte Le Marquand
News reporter

Charlie Le Marquand

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