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Friday, June 14, 2019 - 14:30

The inspirational People and Gardens group have announced plans to travel to Durban, South Africa, to volunteer in the local community there.

Based at the Eden Project’s plant nursery, People and Gardens gives those with physical and emotional impairments the opportunity to develop as individuals and to have equality of choice and opportunity in the workplace.

The life changing trip to South Africa would see the team working with The Genesis Project, which supports those affected by HIV and AIDS. In this community, 49% of families have lost one or both parents to the disease.

People and Gardens would be volunteering within the local youth club, hospice, hospital, day centre and on various building works.

The cost to send the intended group of seven people to Durban is £18,000 and in order to make the trip a reality, People and Gardens are attempting to raise the final £8,000 of that target.

To do this, the group have set up an online donating page and are hosting local fundraising events. One of these is a fundraising evening at Watering Lane Nursery on Tuesday July 16.

Fresh food will be available and live music will be provided by The Mad Hatters. Tickets are £15 and can be purchased by contacting People and Gardens directly.

In addition to this, two fundraisers will be running half marathons whilst another will be partaking in an ‘Iron Man’ challenge by cycling 100 miles, running 26 miles and then swimming three miles.

Ken Radford, manager of People and Gardens said: “This journey would not only improve the education of those we support, but also broaden their understanding of the wider world and enhance the commitment to social responsibility which underpins the values of People and Gardens.

“Our whole group truly care about looking after one another and it would be a wonderful experience for them to go to South Africa and help make a real difference to lives there.”

Ken met the founders of The Genesis Project recently in Switzerland, when he was invited to speak at the Swiss Youth Forum on adolescent mental health.

People and Gardens recently worked alongside The Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) and the Eden Project in the development of the African-inspired garden, created by acclaimed designer Jilayne Rickards, which won a prestigious gold medal at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The core message of the garden is the importance of horticultural education and how this can lift women, families, and communities out of poverty in rural Africa.

People and Gardens was established in 1997. Working closely with Eden’s own skilled horticulturalists, participants have developed so much that the group now supplies the Eden Project’s kitchens and has set up a weekly Veg Bag scheme delivering to households in Cornwall, providing real work for real pay for some of the participants.