Green-fingered adults with learning disabilities are digging their way to success with the fruit and vegetables they grow set to be sold by a local business.

The four members of the Happy Diggers group are supported by national learning disability charity Hft at it's day opportunities centre in Morpeth, where the group grows seasonal produce on a large allotment.

A local café recently expressed interest in buying their produce, and the group was keen to accept.  

Wheelchair accessible with raised beds, the large double plot has been in use by the charity since March 2015, when Hft staff members were inspired to provide a new horticultural activity.

With the help of the Pegswood Allotment Society, a plot was prepared, including a shed, signage and plenty of space for growing. The initiative was an instant success, with people supported by the charity relishing the fresh air and exercise, as well as a new-found appreciation of where their food comes from.

After hearing about the scheme from customers supported by Hft, the owners of a local café suggested a partnership. Delighted to accept, members of the gardening group are now hard at work growing an assortment of nutritious produce ranging from raspberries to rhubarb to tomatoes. Food containing the locally-grown ingredients will be available from the café soon. 

Rita Love, Day Services Manager, said: “We’re so pleased to be working closely with a local business on such a rewarding scheme, which helps the people we support to live the best life possible. The Happy Diggers take great pride in their work and have grown in confidence and developed new skills as a result."

Andrew, a member of the Happy Diggers group, said: “I like the fresh air and exercise. I enjoy planting out and seeing the final product and we learn new things every week. It’s a friendly atmosphere.”