Liam, Jason, Matt and Sean

For many people with learning disabilities Furzey Gardens is a place of solace, where they can meet with friends to work hard tending the gardens.

But they also want to be able to head out into their communities with confidence – something that many of them now struggle with. Sean, Liam, Jason and Matt tell us here about what they love to do in their communities and what they would like to do with more support.

Sean enjoys coming to work at Furzey Gardens, he helps to do some of the garden maintenance jobs that help to keep the gardens open to visitors. Sean didn’t enjoy last year during the lockdowns, as lots of things were different. Sean missed going to the Saints [Southampton FC] pub to meet friends. He also missed going to the shops and being able to have takeaways, but is pleased that he can do these now. Sean enjoyed going on the supported living holiday to Woolacombe last year, but found it different because they were not able to be amongst all their friends and could not enjoy group swimming. He is excited to be going to the pantomime in December.

Liam likes to work at Furzey Gardens to learn skills that help keep the gardens looking good for the visitors who come. Liam is a season ticket holder for Saints and misses going to support the football team when they play. He usually goes with a family member, but has been unable to go since the pandemic started and has only been able to watch the football on tv. He is looking forward to being able to go to the stadium again to support his team.

Jason has missed going to the pub with his friends. Jason also misses going go-karting. He is very excited to be going to the pantomime in December. He has benefited from volunteer buddy support that has made a real difference to his ability to go out and about.

Matt enjoys working in the nursery at Furzey Gardens and has recently been potting spring bulbs, ready for us to sell in plant sales next year. Matt missed a number a things during the pandemic, such as working in the wood workshops at Minstead Trust and he also missed coming along to support the annual Minstead Trust fete. Matt is also a keen football supporter and enjoys going to the Southampton football ground to support his favourite team with his mum and his brother. He has not been to a live football match since early 2020 and would like to be able to go to support Southampton FC in person when circumstances allow.

You can help people like, Sean, Liam, Matt and Jason to thrive once again in their communities by donating to our Big Give fundraising campaign from 30 November to 7 December. Every donation you made is doubled at no extra cost to you, meaning you can have double the impact.

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