Telford man pushes the boat out for garden display

21 June 2018

A Telford man with learning disabilities has used his nautical connections and love of sailing to source the centrepiece display for a themed garden.

Andrew Neary with his boat.

Andrew Neary, 33, is a resident of Sanctuary Supported Living’s (SSL) Oleander House, which provides supported housing for people with learning disabilities.

With this week marking Learning Disability Week 2018, Andrew has been working on a gardening project with residents of Sanctuary Retirement Living’s Rose Manor next door, which provides independent living for people over the age of 55.

The garden, which carries a “seaside” theme complete with surf boards fashioned from wooden pallets, has most recently benefited from a centrepiece display: a rustic, wooden rowing boat now populated with potted plants.

The vessel was sourced by Andrew himself, who attends a nearby sailing club once a week and was able to salvage the prize when it was destined for the scrap heap.

Andrew, who has learning disabilities and anxiety, was supported to join the club by SSL staff at Oleander House as part of the package of personalised support he receives.

Residents at supported housing schemes receive personalised support tailored to their individual needs. As Andrew was already a keen and active swimmer when he arrived at Oleander House in 2015, joining the sailing club was seen as a natural next step to keep him active.

Andrew said: “Sailing is really good for me and I enjoy watering the garden; I went out and bought a watering can especially for it. I really like living at Oleander House as we have lots of fun together.”

SSL local service manager Wendy France added: “Andrew has historically had difficulties with his weight, so as part of his personalised support plan it was important to help keep him active and eating healthy.

“He’s come on leaps and bounds in his time here and it’s so rewarding to see him make such a contribution to the garden and work with the nearby retirement living residents.”

He’s come on leaps and bounds in his time here and it’s so rewarding to see him make such a contribution to the garden and work with the nearby retirement living residents.

Wendy France, SSL Local Service Manager

The garden project is a joint entry between the two services for SSL’s Ready, Steady Grow, a contest to find the best gardens at supported housing and retirement living facilities around the country.

Learning Disability Week is an annual campaign by Mencap to raise awareness of issues around learning disabilities. This year it runs from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 June.

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Sanctuary Supported Living is a trading name of Sanctuary Housing Association and Sanctuary Home Care Limited, both exempt charities. Images used on our website and literature may be representative and are for illustration purposes only.

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