Adult learners help town aim for gold

The Thistles team
The Thistles team

‘Growing for gold’ is the aim on adults at centre for people with learning disabilities as they prepare plants for Boston’s In-Bloom bid.

Students at Thistles Day Centre in Sutterton have been carefully tending to rosemary, thyme and lavender to help Boston build on its silver Britain-in-Bloom award – gained last year at the first attempt.

The theme this year is ‘edible’ so the growers have been producing runner beans and sweetcorn. Chard and sweet peas are also being grown to be planted out around Boston.

Community support worker Liz Judge said they gain hands-on experience and life skills while at the same time producing something that is useful and in demand.

“They absolutely love to be here together, as do we,” said Liz. “When the sun shines it’s not even really like work.”

Thistles is a day centre with a difference – it offers a safe and caring learning environment but is close to being a real-life commercial horticultural nursery.

A core of 13 adults attend five days a week, joined by others, getting hands-on experience of raising seedlings and caring for plants as well as growing fruit and vegetables. Numeracy and literacy is also built into the programme.

The nursery receives support from the community and helps to cover costs by selling some of the produce and hanging baskets for customers.

The students from the Thistles centre were out in Boston on Tuesday helping to set out plants they had grown for the In-Bloom effort near the Ingram Memorial.

Alex Bell, from Bell Bros Nurseries, donated plants for the work.