Gardening is a popular pastime in the UK. Even with the cold climate, the spring and summer are a great time to spend outdoors tending to the lawns and borders or growing your own vegetables. If you are disabled, gardening can still be enjoyable with the help and support of various organisations which provide specialist tools, equipment and advice. There are organisations which also provide grants and other forms of financial and material support to either take up gardening, or continue enjoying a hobby you love, despite your disability. This article introduces some of these organisations and the types of support they have to offer.
The Gardening for Disabled Trust
If you feel you can no longer express your love for gardening due to a disability, then the Gardening for Disabled Trust may be able to help. Based in Kent but helping disabled gardeners from across the country, the trust runs a free membership gardening club. Members can also apply for gardening grants to help them to create the garden of their dreams. Whether you are just getting started or are a keen gardener looking to share your hobby or receive some funding for a project, you should consider becoming a member.
As a member of the trust you will enjoy the following benefits:
- Adapting your garden to suit your personal needs.
- Apply for grants towards building raised beds, paving, decking and making your garden accessible to wheelchair users.
- Expert advice, tips and techniques for disabled gardeners.
- Participate in a forum and share ideas and experiences with other disabled.
If you would like to know more about the Trust, become a member or find out more about the kind of work they do, visit the Gardening for the Disabled website.
N.B. Please note that the trust will not pay for general garden maintenance services, fencing or garden clearing.
Garden Improvement Support from WellChild
WellChild is a national charity working in the UK to improve the lives of sick and disabled children. The WellChild Helping Hand programme assists families to create bedroom and garden alterations using volunteers to carry out the work. The Charity works with children suffering from a wide range of disabilities, including the following:
- Spina bifida.
- Muscular dystrophy.
- Visual impairment.
- Other children with complex care needs.
Although not a grant in its own right, the charity offers gardening services and pays for all the material, as well as working with businesses to deliver the work. Examples of work carried out are as follows:
- Garden makeovers.
- Driveways and patios.
- Creating raised beds
- Clearing overgrown gardens.
- Repairing or putting up fences.
- Laying turf or artificial grass.
WellChild accepts application four times each year in March, June, September, and December, with the committee meeting to discuss the makeover requests. The charity makes dreams come true for disabled or sick children and their families. To find out more about their work and examples of the projects they do visit the WellChild website today.
Getting Local Authority Support with Disabled Facility Grant Funding
The Disabled Facility Grant is a grant provided to eligible disabled people by the government, and administered by local authorities. The grant is for making alterations to homes and living spaces to make them suitable for independent living. This includes the following:
- Improving access to and from the house.
- Making a family room accessible by the disabled person.
- Improving access to a bedroom, toilet, and bathroom.
- To improve access to and from outside areas and the garden.
Although this grant is not specifically for gardening purposes, creating access to the garden may be covered under the funding rules. Speaking with your local authority about your needs may mean you gain improved access to your garden, which is the first step in enjoying gardening again.
The Disabled Facility Grant is a “means tested” grant, which means an assessment of your finances, including income and capital. Based on this assessment, you may be required to make a contribution to towards the adaptations. Applications on behalf of disabled children under the age of 18 are not means tested. Maximum funding available in the England under the DFG is £30,000. To find out more about the Disabled Facility Grant, contact your local Social Services department. Getting easy access to your garden may the spark you need to get into gardening. Even though this grant will only cover accessibility to your garden, it is worth finding out if you qualify for funding as it will make a huge difference if you get the funding.
Help with Gardening for the Disabled
If you are disabled it is so easy for your garden to turn into a living nightmare. Depending on accessibility and mobility, your garden may become overgrown and quickly become unmanageable. Getting help with gardening in this situation may be a challenge, but there are charities who may be able to help. Get in touch with Social Services or your local council to find out if there are any gardening volunteering schemes operating in your area.
As this article has shown, there aren’t many charities offering gardening grants for disabled people. However, the Gardening for the Disabled Trust is one of the very few organisations which offer targeted support for aspiring gardeners. Applying for a grant is a straightforward, you just need to become a gardening club member first. All aspects of gardening are covered by the grants, including creating access, paving, patios, raised beds and more.
For other gardening services such as clearing overgrown gardens and general maintenance, contacting your local authority is the best way forward, so you can find out about volunteer organisation which may help.