Date: 
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 17:30

The inspirational People and Gardens organisation based at the Eden Project’s nursery is celebrating a major milestone this summer.

It is 20 years since the ground-breaking group was established by Ken and Lorraine Radford and since then it has helped hundreds of people.

Run as a community interest company, People and Gardens enables people with learning disabilities or emotional impairments to be able to develop as individuals, learn work and social skills and have equality of choice and opportunity in the workplace.

The 20th birthday has been marked by People and Gardens joining together with Eden and the Lost Gardens of Heligan to hold celebration days and awards ceremonies for long-serving participants.

More than 30 of the People and Gardens team received awards with a third of these having been with the group for more than 10 years, and five people who have completed 20 years from the outset of the project.

Ken Radford said:  “It seems like only yesterday that I approached Sir Tim Smit at the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project and said: 'You've got your dream, will you help us achieve ours?’

“He was true to his word, as have been all those wonderful people there at both organisations, and well, the rest is the present, rather than history.”

Ken and Lorraine understand through their own experiences working together how to break down barriers and to educate and support each other to make the world a better place for everyone.

Ken said:  “We believe gardening can help you achieve a sense of well-being, satisfaction and self-worth. We believe that gardening can help you feel good about yourself.

“The people who come to work here are what makes our organisation special and it has been lovely to see all the team recognised for their contribution over the years.”

During the celebration days, guests had a tour, listened to people's stories and enjoyed lunch cooked by staff and volunteers from the Cornwall Food Foundation's Food For Change Project. 

Dawn George, Eden’s Director of HR, said: “People and Gardens and Eden have always enjoyed a very close partnership. It is the epitome of what an inclusive programme can be.

“The successes that Ken, Lorraine and the team have achieved over 20 years have been huge.  The stories of overcoming personal challenge, building skills that support for everyday life, contributing to a wider community and doing this in a hugely practical way should be applauded.  

“Everyone is an equal and the love and support that they show each other is tangible every time you meet the team. It is a family, a community and an exemplar of what can be achieved with commitment, dedication and a little stubbornness to ensure that those attending have the best possible experiences.

“We are proud to be part of the People and Garden family and wish them every success for the next 20 years.”

Working closely with Eden’s own skilled horticulturists, participants have developed so much that the group now supplies Eden’s kitchens and has set up a weekly Veg Bag scheme delivering to households in Cornwall.

See more about People and Gardens at www.peopleandgardens.co.uk