New future for Missenden Garden Centre

A NEW CHARITY has been formed to provide support, gardening skills, training and work experience to adults with a learning disability or long term illness. Based at Missenden Abbey in Great Missenden, it welcomes clients from all over the county.

The charity, Missenden Walled Garden CIO, was set up by a group of parents and local people, who were prepared to run the former Buckinghamshire County Council service in order to ensure its future.

The current service will be decommissioned by Buckinghamshire County Council and ceremonially handed over to Missenden Walled Garden CIO during a celebratory event on Thursday 1 June at the garden (which is part of the site of Missenden Abbey) by Patricia Birchley, Chairman of the Council.

Patricia said: “As a result of a consultation about the future of the service at Great Missenden a group of parents, whose adult children use the centre, put forward a proposal to set up a charity and continue to provide a service on the site.

“Over the past few months we have been working with the charity to help ensure a smooth transition for staff and service users . Today (1 June) marks the beginning of a new and bright future for the service.

Along with the formal decision to decommission the service at Great Missenden the Council agreed to support the new charity by gifting fixed assets and equipment worth over £7,000.

Patricia added: “We hope that service users and their families will continue to benefit from the opportunities on offer at Great Missenden for many years to come. The Council will continue to provide full support to any service users and their families who require help in finding support that meets their assessed needs.”

Chareline Gibbs, a parent and Missenden Walled Garden CIO trustee, said: “We are delighted to have saved the Walled Garden so that its Gardeners can continue to enjoy working together in a safe and supportive environment.

“Providing the best possible care is very important to us and we are keen that many more adults with disabilities can join us on this beautiful site. We offer varied and exciting opportunities for people to learn new skills, make new friends, and become part of a team, working together with expert staff, to help create a truly stunning, natural, wildlife friendly environment.

“We are working closely with the Great Missenden community and schools to promote wider awareness and integration for all; making this a real community asset. We have already welcomed new volunteers to our team, and would be delighted to add to our supporters network. As with any charity, especially a new one, we also welcome donations!”