Potted history: New book celebrates 25 years of specialist horticultural charity

Peter Cotton with the Sunnyside book PNL-150511-153637001
Peter Cotton with the Sunnyside book PNL-150511-153637001

Sunnyside Rural Trust is celebrating its 25th birthday with a special book, designed by volunteer and Berkhamsted resident Peter Cotton.

The book features favourite memories and photographs from trainees, volunteers and staff of the trust, which helps adults with learning disabilities through horticultural and practical activities.

Copies are being given out to trainees, volunteers and staff to mark the anniversary.

Aspecial evening at Shendish Manor was also held to mark the charity’s achievements over the past 25 years.

What began as a service for just six people from Leavesden Hospital has grown beyond recognition, with more than 120 trainees a week attending to learn work skills in horticulture at one of the trust’s three sites in Hemel, Berkhamsted and Northchurch.

Over the years, the emphasis has changed to become a social enterprise, growing fruit, vegetables and plants and carrying out contract gardening work, all of which generate funds to go back into the charity.

One of Sunnyside Rural Trust’s main aims is to empower and involve its trainees in their development and work plan. A recent survey found a high level of satisfaction among trainees.

Transport to the three sites is provided from Dacorum and Watford but this relies on the smooth running of its minibuses, one of which has had to be taken out of service after many years.

The trust is appealing for funds to help it buy a second-hand minibus to replace this vital vehicle. It is currently having to hire a minibus.

To donate, go to www.sunnysideruraltrust.org.uk