Good teamwork creates thriving gardens for disabled people Two days of active gardening and landscaping by 40 volunteering employees of Decorative Paints in Slough led to the creation of two beautiful gardens for disabled people in Reading and London.The UK finance team, mainly based in Slough, was looking for local charities in the area and became involved with Thrive, a charity based in Reading with a second base in Battersea (London) which works with disabled people of all ages, including those recovering after a stroke or living with heart disease and people recovering after an accident. Thrive’s main activities are based around gardening with disabled people giving them the opportunity to be in nice surroundings, try new activities, interact with other people and meet friends. The London based operation asked our volunteers from the finance team to level out an area of disused land, replant large amounts of flowers and vegetables as well as transfer grown produce to their small selling stall in Battersea Park. The team first removed large amounts of old piping and guttering, then cleared and flattened an area near the greenhouses for easy wheelchair access. They also re-potted many small plants that required more space to grow and transferred many table-loads of plants to the Thrive stall in Battersea Park. In Reading our colleagues were asked to do some significant landscaping of an over-grown area in the Thrive garden. The area was significantly improved by removing dangerous objects, thorough weeding and replanting a large area. They also leveled off a large area of rocky land to enable wheelchair access for Thrive students in the future. The necessary gardening equipment was purchased with support from the Community Program and more funds were made available to pay for clients of the charity to come and enjoy the gardens and for Thrive to buy new equipment which the clients use during their therapy sessions. Our volunteering colleagues were not alone performing their hard work. They were joined by the care helpers as well as the disabled students on site at the time. All in all, the jobs were performed in good team work and the finance team experienced the whole exercise as a job with major team building benefits. The end result made them quite proud as the new and improved gardens for the Thrive charity hugely benefit a large range of people: those with a physical disability or learning difficulties, blind or partially sighted people, people who have mental health issues, and young people who have special educational needs. Also the care workers will now be able to enjoy some much needed rest bite and fresh air. And their clients now get the chance to do some activities and gardening that would otherwise be impossible for them to do, at the same time getting a sense of belonging to their community which is long lasting. As these first two gardening projects went so well, the finance team considers continuing the teamwork with the Thrive organization. We will keep you posted of their progress!