A Local Social Enterprise has acquired Thorngrove Garden Centre with big plans to regenerate site and bring training for post 16 Special Educational Needs students to the area.
South Dorset based Employ My Ability has purchased Thorngrove Garden Centre, Gillingham, Dorset and Special Needs Day Care business from the charity Scope. The purchase has been in negotiation for the past 12 months, and Employ My Ability is excited to announce the sale is now complete. The future of 12 local jobs and 18 day service users with special needs have been secured, with work due to start in the next month to regenerate the site.
Employ My Ability’s started out in The Walled Garden in Moreton, Dorset in 2014 by 3 founding partners looking to change SEN education experience locally. Employ My Ability has been about providing real life, real work experiences for their students with real outcomes. This all happens in real life work settings onsite. Students gain skills, training and qualifications in the formal gardens, café, garden centre shop, small plant nursery, kitchen gardens and small animal area.
Employ My Ability currently has 30 SEN students accessing their site in Moreton Dorset, where they are now in their third year and producing great results with their students. Current courses include; catering, retail, admin, horticulture and animal care.
There are lots of plans to regenerate the site at Thorngrove, with a new café opening in early 2018. Managing director Steve White says ‘we are really excited to have been able to purchase the site and secure the future of the centre for the staff, its service users and members of the public. We are working with the all staff and service users at Thorngrove and are in the planning stages of a big redevelopment of the site. This will all start with a new café and spruce up of the site. We are looking forward to welcoming students on vocational courses from September 2018 and already have had several referrals for courses here.’

Thorngrove Garden Centre growers remain busy cultivating plants for all year round plants sales and during the renovation work the centre will remain open to its service users and visiting members of the public for plant and gift sales.

Please visit us and see what we are about at Employ My Ability, The Walled Gardens, Moreton DT2 8RG or Thorngrove Garden Centre, Common Mead Lane, Gillingham SP8 4RE

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