Recently, No Limits East Midlands have moved to a new office; a converted 4 bedroom house in a residential street which has a garden to the rear. For us as a service, this presents a great opportunity as we previously only had access to a small administrative office building. As well as creating a great opportunity, it also presents great challenges and an avalanche of work!
Around the same time we moved to Thorndale Road, we began supporting a new student; a young man named Kyle. Kyle has a wealth of hands-on practical skills at his disposal, however he can struggle with more conventional numeracy and literacy based activities as well as being extremely shy in new environments.
Due to having a wide range of students with multi-sensory needs, we decided to try and utilise the space in the rear garden to provide an area that all of the students can enjoy. Tasked with this, Kyle has fully immersed himself into the work, and took it on as his own little project. Despite only being with No Limits for a term (and the weather being against us on several occasions so far!), Kyle has flourished in his role as groundsman and has made remarkable progress. In terms of tangible outcomes so far, Kyle has built a raised planter from some reclaimed timber where he has planted potatoes and beans (as well as planting tomatoes, strawberries, rhubarb and sunflowers), he has replaced a fence panel damaged in high winds, painted the shed, mowed the lawn (and bought new equipment to do so) amongst several other jobs.
The main difference that has been noticed however is in Kyle’s willingness to engage in conversation – there is now common ground for an interaction. This responsibility that Kyle has been given has provided the basis by which to initiate conversation with people, engage with others and complete a task that will benefit all of the learners in the service. Through practical activities and being outside, it is wonderful to see that Kyle has blossomed and is beginning to open up to his support staff; the garden appearing to be an elaborate metaphor for Kyle’s journey with us so far.
Community Learning Facilitator
MacIntyre No Limits