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Growing Opportunities for People Across North Ayrshire

A new landscaping and plant nursery project is aiming to grow opportunities for people across North Ayrshire to help them gain skills and training for employment.

North Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet has backed plans to support the Hazeldene Horticulture social enterprise – a partnership between the Council, ENABLE Scotland and Impact Arts which started to grow thanks to £98,000 funding from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

The project, based at the Hazeldene Resource Centre in Kilwinning, will establish a plant nursery employing people aged 18 to 65 with learning disabilities to help them move into jobs.

Once established, the project will create jobs for eight people while supporting 44 individuals with training and employment opportunities each year.

Enterprise Manager at ENABLE Scotland, Doreen Walkinshaw, said:

“We believe that the Hazeldene project will flourish to produce life transforming opportunities for young people and adults with learning disabilities across North Ayrshire.

“Like anyone else, most people with learning disabilities want to get a decent job, get on in life and make friends.

“The overall goal of Hazeldene Horticulture is that more adults and young people with additional support needs will have the opportunity to experience vocational training and move into real jobs.

“Hazeldene Horticulture will significantly increase the employability success for people with learning disabilities.”

Trusts Manager at People’s Postcode Lottery, Kate Pearson, said:

“We are delighted that the support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery has enabled the launch of Hazeldene Horticultural.

“This social enterprise will really make a massive impact on the local community and provide opportunities for those with learning disabilities to develop lifelong skills.”

Impact Arts Chief Executive Lynne Carr said:

“Impact Arts and ENABLE Scotland have a history of working together on projects that empower people with learning disabilities and the wider community in a way that is both innovative and creative.

“We have an extensive knowledge of the local environment, having worked in North Ayrshire for a number of years and our Urban Green team are raring to add creative flair to this brilliant social enterprise and employability project.”

North Ayrshire Council Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Councillor Anthea Dickson, said:

“This is a fantastic project that will help people with additional support needs to gain skills and employment opportunities.

“The project also fits with our growing emphasis on personalisation, helping to increase independence among those who use our services.

“Hazeldene Horticulture brings North Ayrshire Council and ENABLE Scotland together in a new public social partnership – the first of its kind for the local authority.

“It’s a unique approach, backing a project that will offer people opportunities to receive support tailored for them.”

North Ayrshire Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Employment, Councillor Marie Burns, said:

“The partnership project will provide employment support for local people.

“The horticulture labour market is a developing sector. However, recent studies have indicated that there is a significant skills gap and shortage of people with knowledge in this area.

“By developing training and employment opportunities we can help to expand our skills base and grow the diverse range of businesses in North Ayrshire, helping to increase jobs and get more people into work.”

North Ayrshire Council will support the £150,000 pilot project with groundwork services and a lease of land and property for £1.

Further developments could see links established at Eglinton Park and other projects across North Ayrshire.

The pilot project will initially run for three years operated by ENABLE Scotland with the aim of making it a sustainable social enterprise offering high quality services and opportunities for local people.

North Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet backed the proposals at a meeting on Tuesday 31 April.

A consultation event for residents to hear about plans and ask questions takes place at Hazeldene Resource Centre on Tuesday 14 May from 6pm.

For more information about the project please contact ENABLE Direct on 03000200101.

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