Friday, September 10, 2010 - 11:20

An employee of the People and Gardens scheme, based at the Eden Project’s Watering Lane Nursery near Pentewan, will be cycling from Trafalgar Square to the Biomes in Bodelva to raise awareness of the group’s work.


Nick Dorson form St. Austell aims to complete the 250-mile journey in just four days and will be setting off on Saturday September 18. He will take the A4 out of London, joining the A303 towards the south west before taking the A30 into Cornwall. He plans to arrive at Eden at 2pm on Tuesday September 21.

For the past year the group has been growing a wide range of vegetables at the nursery and selling them in bags to Eden staff, Cornwall Council’s Adult Social Care department and the friends, family and carers of those working on the scheme.

Nick started volunteering with People and Gardens in 2000 and is now employed on a permanent basis. He is a horticulturist who oversees every aspect of producing the vegetable bags.

Nick said: “I’m really looking forward to the ride but it’s going to be tough. Working with People and Gardens has really helped me develop as a person so I wanted to do something out of the ordinary to bring attention to our work.”

Ken Radford, who runs People and Gardens, said: “I have worked with Nick for ten years and consider him one of our best success stories. He has made huge improvements since I've know him and is now living independently and acts as a role model for some of our other guys.

“This bike ride is perfectly in keeping with our philosophy of taking people out of their comfort zone to assist development and I'm incredibly proud of Nick for doing it.”

The People and Gardens supported work project aims to enable participants - whose lives have been affected by mental and physical challenges ranging from autism to Down's syndrome - to play a greater role in their communities.

The ultimate aim of the group is to enable people to take control over their own lives and find employment. People and Gardens works closely and in partnership with the Eden Project and the vegetable bag scheme was started to create jobs, providing real work for real pay for some of the participants.

People and Gardens was established eleven years ago by Ken Radford and in that time he and his team have helped more than 150 people make real improvements in their lives through learning horticultural skills and growing food for Eden’s restaurants and cafes. Some of the participants go on to live independently, to study and to find jobs.

The group was initially based at the Lost Gardens of Heligan before moving to Watering Lane, where participants work closely with Eden's skilled horticulturists.

There are currently 45 people taking part, all coming from within a 25-mile radius of the nursery and with an age range of 16 to 70.