Gardening their way to qualifications

Gardening can be a useful activity for a whole range of reasons as adults with learning difficulties in Devon have been finding out for themselves.

A cash injection from Devon County Council is helping the gardeners towards a qualification in horticulture, with the purchase of a polytunnel on a double allotment plot giving a space in which to grow a range of flowers, herbs, plants and veg.

The Doyle Centre students are working towards an NVQ Level 1 in horticulture and Devon county councillor for Exmouth, Brixington and Withycombe Brenda Taylor said the council is happy to help.

"I am delighted to support this group, who are working toward their NVQ in a most practical way, promoting healthy living and exercise on the allotment," she said.

As many gardeners may already know, Loughborough University and horticulture charity Thrive concluded in 2005 that gardening can have a "positive effect" on the physical and mental health and social skills of vulnerable adults.