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Garden Projects for People with Learning Disabilities

Based at Inverness Botanic Gardens and the Isobel Rhind Centre, Invergordon

We operate two Garden Projects on behalf of the National Health Service, one at the Inverness Botanic Gardens and the other at the Isobel Rhind Centre in Invergordon, which are specifically designed for people with learning disabilities. The client group has often been excluded from the opportunity to gain and develop core skills that are required as a first step towards entering supported employment or specialised skills training or simply to enjoy a reasonable level of social inclusion.

Gardening is used as the vehicle for developing such skills due to the range and type of activity used within it. Clients need a reasonable degree of physical fitness and stamina sufficient to participate in gardening activities.


We strongly recommend that all clients have up to date anti-tetanus status. Client referrals must be made by a Social Worker who must advise us of any medical or other conditions the client may have.

Training is through practical work experience and centres on Social Skills; Health & Safety; Ready for Work Attributes; At Work Attributes; Pre Vocational Skills and Vocational Skills. Our staff liaise closely with the Trainee’s Care Manager and client progress is recorded regularly.

We can supply a summary report on any trainee for use at formal care reviews within a couple of days of a formal request being made.

We have a flexible approach to attendance and trainees can attend from 1 to 5 days each week. However, attendance must be consistent each week with placement priority given to those who wish to attend the highest number of days each week. It is also essential that the Project is not used as a ‘stop gap’ while looking for something else so the intended duration of attendance should not be less than six months. Ideally, we have 6 trainees attending each day, who stay on the Project for between one and three years.

Attendance & Facilities

Trainees are normally expected to be at the gardens between 9.00am and 3.00pm. There will be a 15 minute morning break and a half hour lunch break. Trainees are asked to bring a packed lunch each day. We have an urn, toaster and microwave available in the rest room. Trainees may take 20 days annual leave. This should be arranged in advance with the training staff. Trainees are expected to make their own way to and from the gardens.


Our Training staff have many years experience with this client group. They do all they can to make the training as productive and enjoyable an experience as possible. They are fully qualified in First Aid and PVG checked so clients are always in a safe and caring environment. If you have an interest in the Project then please call us on 01463 713553 or return to the introduction for full contact details.

Greenkeeping Modern Apprenticeships

Fully funded through the Modern Apprenticeship initiative

We are able to fully fund and arrange the full Modern Apprenticeship training in Greenkeeping for young persons employed by a Golf Club in the Highlands or Moray.

We do this through the our contract with Skills Development Scotland, the Government Agency with responsibility for Apprenticeship training in Scotland. We are the only organisation to hold this contract and have done so for the last 20 years and have served most 18 hole Clubs in the area including: Reay, Thurso, Wick, Brora, Golspie, Royal Dornoch, Carnegie Club, Invergordon, Alness, Strathpeffer, Muir of Ord, Fortrose & Rosemarkie, Torvean, Inverness, Nairn West, Nairn Dunbar, Forres, Hopeman, Grantown on Spey, Kingussie and Newtonmore. The training is delivered through three single weeks attendance on block release with our partner’s,SRUC Elmwood Campus, in Cupar, Fife.

We do not charge for our services or any of the training costs such as travel to and from the College, College accommodation, tuition and registration fees or assessment costs. To find out more about this extremely successful programme, contact us on 01463 713553.