Swiss students give a helping hand to People and Gardens group
Students from the prestigious International School of Zug and Luzerne (ISZL) in Switzerland have paid a special visit to the Eden Project's Watering Lane Nursery to work with the People and Gardens group.
People and Gardens is a project which gives people with physical and emotional impairments the opportunity to build confidence and learn how to grow and sell vegetables.
Twelve students aged 15 and 16 worked with the group on a range of tasks during their four days with the project, including looking after vegetable crops, cutting back hedges and building bird boxes.
This is the fourth year the school has visited People and Gardens and the trip is one of a range of options given to students to volunteer at community projects around the world.
Rosaline de Koning from Utrecht in the Netherlands is a former ISZL student who visited People and Gardens twice while she was studying at the school. She has since graduated but made the trip to Cornwall with the school again this year. She is now moving to the UK to study medicine at the University of Oxford.
She said: "It's incredible to see how much of a difference People and Gardens makes to people's lives and working with them is so fulfilling. They’re just really good people and it's a joy to be around them.
“I'm hoping to come back during university holidays and spend some more time with these guys. I hope that my first-hand experience of what People and Gardens do will help my studies and my future work as a doctor."
Ken Radford, founder of People and Gardens, said: “This visit shows what People and Gardens is about. It’s not just about giving these students an opportunity to come and grow vegetables - it’s about giving them real participation with people that they would not normally interact with in their everyday lives.
“It’s important that the guys at People and Gardens get an opportunity to learn about other parts of the world and how other cultures live."
Previous visits have had a major impact on ISZL students. Ken has a collection of letters from students who say their time with People and Gardens helped change their perception and values by learning to accept people’s differences.
People and Gardens was set up in 1997 by Ken and Lorraine Radford and in that time, the horticulture skills of the team have developed so much that the group now delivers fresh produce to more than 70 households in Cornwall each month.
The community interest company runs a vegetable bag scheme, which offers a fortnightly bag of top-quality produce, available for £13 for a large bag or £10 for a small one.
The team have helped more than 150 people improve their lives and some have gone on to live independently, to study and to find jobs.
For more information on People and Gardens see: http://www.peopleandgardens.co.uk/