Our stories

Nick's story: managing the nursery

Nick is a member of Basingstoke Mencap and a regular volunteer at Greenfingers as the nursery manager.

He has cerebral palsy – a physical condition affecting movement, posture and co-ordination most usually diagnosed at birth or in early childhood. Diagnosed at the age of 18, which is not unheard of but is relatively rare, he recalls feeling very frustrated as his body became progressively more stiff and sore. He doesn’t allow this to inhibit him however, and is to be found hard at work in the nursery – planting seeds, potting on, watering and tending to the plants which are ultimately sold on site at regular open days throughout the spring and summer.

Nick refers to Greenfingers as his second home. As a keyholder he enjoys the position of responsibility and undertakes a vital caretaker role when the site is closed – visiting to ensure plants/seedlings are watered and to perform any necessary maintenance.

Nick’s role at Greenfingers has enabled him to utilise his NVQ qualification in horticulture and he has also learnt new skills – most recently using a card reader machine. He enjoys managing sales with members of the public who visit the site and the daily social interaction with service users and other volunteers.

As a lived experience ambassador, Nick attends trustee meetings where he has the opportunity to give feedback and suggestions, providing a vital conduit to advocate for all Basingstoke Mencap service users.