THE garden team at Trengwainton Garden near Penzance have been supporting a pioneering partnership between the National Trust, Cornwall College and the Job Centre to provide work skills training for the long-term unemployed.
Groups numbering between eight to 20 people, based at the garden for a fortnight, have taken part in practical tasks such as pruning, coppicing and clearance work.
Led by the Trust’s gardeners, and helped by learning support workers from Cornwall College, they also learn tree identification, best practice in nature conservation, safe tool use and general health and safety.
Stephen Maunder, business development manager for the Work Skills Training Academy at Cornwall College says: “The head gardener Phil Griffiths and his team have provided excellent guidance, information and support to our teaching staff as well as the learners.
“The personal skills involved as well as knowledge of trees, plants and the environment has enriched the lives of the learners it has been such a success that we have demand from the JobCentre to repeat it throughout the County.”
The benefits of the programme have also inspired some of the trainees beyond the duration of the programme, with several of them applying to be volunteers at Trengwainton.