Disability Support South Tyneside

Holder house garden

New toilet for Holder House

A TEAM of budding builders are putting their skills to the test to help a popular South Tyneside community garden.

Apprentices from Carillion have started on a new disabled toilet block for users of the Holder House Allotments in Whiteleas, South Shields.

The construction giant, which is working on the nearby South Shields Community School, donated the manpower and equipment for free after hearing about the plight of those who regularly attend the site, some of who have learning difficulties.

Holder House project manager Chris Convery said: “Having a toilet like this will make the site more accessible to other people with disabilities.

“At the moment, we only have a portaloo which is no good for those in wheelchairs.

“We are so grateful for the help Carillion are giving us.”

The community garden has been on its current site at Holder House for the past two years, and offers a varity of users – including people with learning and physical disabilities, the elderly, and local schools – the chance to go and learn about horticulture, boosting their confidence and gardening skills.

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Allotment Plot Is Blossoming

An allotment plot created for keen gardeners with learning disabilities is blossoming into a big success.

For more than a year, up to 20 people have regularly attended the site at Holder House allotments in South Shields.

Led by Chris Connolly – a day centre officer in West Walpole Street – the group has worked hard to turn the plot of land into an area that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Councillor Ernest Gibson (centre) pictured at Holder House allotments with Day Centre Officer, Chris Connolly, service users Paul Butters, Michael Rylance and Clinton Sewell.

Now, with more funding from Awards For All, Social Enterprise Investment Fund and Your Fund, it is hoped the site will be further developed with a shower and toilet facility.

Organisers are also looking to revamp paving around the plot to enable those with physical disabilities a chance to join in the fun. It is hoped families and the community will also play a part in the site.

Mr Connolly said: “The garden has been well received by everyone and people want to be here. The funding means we are hoping to turn the plot into a place accessible to everyone, and eventually for schools to come down and have their own projects.

“We have been going since June last year and we have just been developing from then. Plans are also in place for a wood workshop – we just have all sorts of plans for the place which are only as big as our imaginations.”

Members of the Select Committee Children and Young People, Independent and Healthy Lives recently enjoyed a tour of the allotments.

Chairman of the Committee, Councillor Ernest Gibson, said: “This is an excellent project and one we fully support. It is a great addition to the community and the people who have worked on the site should be applauded for their effort and their dedication in making this scheme such a success.

“The scheme has so many positives, from enabling us to provide training for local people to promoting healthy eating.”

The group would like to thank Timberline for supplying the sheds for the site.

Praise For Community Garden

Councillors have praised a scheme which involves community groups in looking after a local garden.

Members of the Select Committee Children and Young People and Independent and Healthy Lives received a report on the work of the Holder House Community Garden Project at their last meeting.

The garden, in Whiteleas, is maintained by local schoolchildren, older people, people with learning and physical disabilities and people with mental health problems.

Chair of the Committee, Councillor Ernest Gibson, said: “This is a great project involving people of all ages, and members were impressed with the work going on there. The beauty of the scheme is that it has so many positives. It enables us to provide training for local people, giving them valuable work experience and the confidence to access employment.

“Then there’s the food-growing side, which provides supported work for the mental health and disability groups involved whilst allowing us to promote healthy eating. Local schoolchildren come along to join in and can learn all sorts of important environmental lessons. Older people can benefit too because gardening is a good form of exercise. There are composting facilities, and the project makes use of recycled materials, which all helps to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

“This is a true community project, and I’m delighted to say that it has been a real success story.”

Allotment loos will be very convenient

CONVENIENT … Coun Ernest Gibson with Carillion workers Jacqui Hearn, James Wright and Kevin Thomas at Holder House allotments.

Published on Tuesday 12 April 2011 09:00

A TEAM of budding builders are putting their skills to the test to help a popular South Tyneside community garden.

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Community gardeners need to spend a penny

Tanks a lot … Chris Convery, left, and his team at Holder House allotments are hoping for some extra help.
By LISA NIGHTINGALE

Published on Thursday 10 February 2011 10:30

A GROUP of South Tyneside gardeners is hoping a kind-hearted business will spare a few quid to help them ‘spend a penny’.

Users of the community garden at Holder House Allotments, in Whiteleas, South Shields, were thrilled when construction company Carillion offered to install a disabled toilet on the site.

But before work starts, they need to get their hands on a septic tank, which costs about £1,000, so the new loo will work.

Project manager Chris Convery said: “At the moment, we have a disabled Portaloo on site, but to make the site more accessible to those in wheelchairs, we need a permanent disabled toilet.

“The site is going really well, and the people who come here are gaining so much, personally, that we are trying to continue building on what we have achieved so far to make it better for them. To have a disabled toilet of this kind on site would mean so much to users, so if anyone can help, we would be so grateful.”
The community garden has been on its current site at the allotments for the past two years, and offers a place for people with learning disabilities to go and learn about horticulture, boosting their confidence and gardening skills.

Coun Ernest Gibson, a ward councillor for Whiteleas and a keen supporter of the scheme, said; “The community garden is an excellent project and has helped to change so many lives around.

“Carillion has kindly offered, through their apprenticeship scheme, to install a disabled toilet on the site, and now all we need is a septic tank.”

Mr Convery is also asking any builders who have spare materials they can donate to the community garden to create poly-tunnels.

Anyone who can help should contact Mr Convery on 07824 560147


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