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Local charity awarded for its commitment to outdoor learning and sustainable practices.

The annual Yorkshire in Bloom competition saw businesses, charitable organisations and communities unite to make a positive and lasting improvement to their local environment for the benefit of local people. The regional event represents the RHS Britain in Bloom campaign that is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society, with a Hull-based participant being CASE Training Services.

The trainees and team members at CASE were delighted to find that they had won Gold, for the Charities category, at this year’s Yorkshire in Bloom event. They were also presented with a Discretionary Award for Best Supported Learning Project, which was a surprise and a real honour.

The Yorkshire in Bloom judges gave glowing feedback in response to the organisation’s ongoing commitment to green learning: “They garden in a sustainable manner and actively encourage wildlife. There is a huge and infectious enthusiasm for the garden from staff and students alike.”

CASE is a registered charity that provides training and support for adults with learning disabilities. During the pandemic, the opportunity was taken to amalgamate its four GROW allotments to create a large, integrated site where trainees can plant, nurture and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a wide range of plants and flowers. Everything is grown from seed where possible and a team of eight trainees work alongside two staff members to maintain and continuously improve the allotment, which includes creating artwork to further brighten the surroundings.

Mark Cooke, General Manager at CASE, said: “GROW provides easy and engaging sessions in gardening for adults with learning disabilities. Our patches are dedicated to flowers, fruit trees, vegetable patches and beehives with honey cultivation, which as well as being relaxing and educational also helps to stock our kitchen. The purpose-built outdoor classroom ensures that our learning provision is dynamic, diverse and therapeutic to the mind, body and soul.”

Trainees are also taught about upcycling, protecting wildlife, self-sufficiency and how to make the allotment an important part of the city’s wider ecosystem, simultaneously reducing the charity’s carbon footprint. The site has solar panels on the classroom roof, a rainwater collection system, and even a compost toilet that transforms human waste into plant food. Led by Sally and Brenda, GROW at CASE also runs a sponsorship programme, offering local businesses the chance to boost their corporate social responsibility strategies by sponsoring a raised bed of flowers, fruit or vegetables.

Mark added: “We’re over the moon that the hard work, creativity and caring nature of our trainees has been recognised once again by Yorkshire in Bloom. Winning a Gold Award in this year’s competition reflects their commitment to independent living and supporting the environment in multiple ways.”

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