Our stories

Harley's story: community gardening

Work experience through our ‘Gardening in the Community’ service.

Harley has been visiting Greenfingers for several years, and his favourite occupation is Gardening in the Community – a gardening service for local residents where he accompanies qualified gardeners to gain commercial work experience.

Harley loves ‘having a laugh with the boys’ whilst learning a variety of gardening skills – hedge trimming, mowing, patio maintenance and strimming. It has also allowed him to utilise his NVQ in Horticulture gained at Greenfingers.

Going off site to meet members of the local community also means he gets to socialise with new people and enjoys chatting with customers to see what tasks they would like done that day.

Harley really enjoys keeping busy, and because he loves the physical aspect of gardening, he is often first to volunteer to do the heavy jobs – whether that is digging, trimming a large hedge trimming or filling a skip with refuse. This helps him to stay fit and healthy and has a significant positive impact on his mental wellbeing.

At birth, Harley suffered a form of brain damage which affects signal transmission between his brain and eyes. This means that his spatial awareness is affected, for example distance perception and judging distances from objects. Gardeners Will and Ben help him to manage this by keeping close supervision, enabling him to complete tasks autonomously but safely. He is very aware of the safety requirements in operating power tools – highlighting the importance of checking for cables around hedges and walls.

When he is not at Greenfingers, Harley works part time in a bar and also runs a monthly disco for the Basingstoke Mencap leisure club.