Chief opens community garden


A NEW community garden created by adults with learning disabilities has officially opened with the help of Durham Constabulary.
Over the past ten months, around 15 green-fingered volunteers from Ethicare Durham have worked tirelessly to transform wasteland behind Gilesgate Police Station, in Sherburn Road, Durham, into a stunning garden for the community.
Ethicare Durham provides day support and supported living for adults with learning disabilities. They worked closely with Durham Constabulary to create the fully accessible garden, complete with a fruit and vegetable patch, polytunnel and outdoor seating area.
The garden was officially opened today by Chief Constable Mike Barton, who planted a tree to mark the occasion.
“I have been absolutely spellbound and lost for words by what I have seen today – what they have achieved here is just fantastic,” he said.
“It is brilliant to see the confidence in everyone here who has worked so hard to create a beautiful garden for the community - they should be extremely proud.”
Robin Raymond, project manager at Ethicare Durham and former PCSO, said: “It is just amazing to see the change in everyone who worked on the garden – they have grown in confidence and are so proud of what they have achieved.
“A lot of these people had never done any gardening before, but they have really got stuck in and learned an awful lot along the way.
“Anyone can come and use the garden and we are hoping to turn it into a sensory garden for people with autism and other disabilities.”
The fruit and vegetables grown in the garden will be used at Ethicare’s café in Pittington, which is due to open in the near future. The care will be run by service users and support staff.