Report 26th October 2010


Helping People Grow


Mrs Christine Brown and Ms Jane Inman both of Horticap were our guests this week.  Mrs.Brown spoke of the history and work carried out by this worthy local charity.  Formed in 1982 and now occupying land at Bluecoat Wood Nurseries Horticap helps adults with learning difficulties to develop their horticultural capabilities. 

  It had long been known that horticultural training in a caring environment for adults with learning difficulties has a great therapeutic effect upon those taking part.  But it was first necessary to find a piece of land.  After forming a committee they managed to sign a 10 year lease on a “….bleak, windswept, waterlogged piece of land high on Otley Road probably unchanged since the dark ages when Harlow Hill was known as Soldiers Hill.” 

So a manager, with one instructor and five students, had to set to work and perform a miracle, to transform this land into a well-drained productive plot.  They had an old caravan and an outside tap – but they had volunteers and they were fired with enthusiasm. 

The freehold was bought in 1987 and currently there are 39 students with ages from late teens up to 70s.  Ideally there is a ratio of five students to one instructor.  One of the volunteers is a retired speech therapist who runs sessions in Makaton sign language making for improved communication on the site. There is a bird-hide overlooking a wild area and a display garden of over a quarter acre and a garden shop that sells bedding plants, perennials, herbs, compost, chippings and well-rotted manure.


It costs over £5,000 per week to run this most worthwhile charity, of this 26% is raised from shop sales and garden maintenance.  But to best appreciate the miracle that has been wrought on this land and to these people – just visit Bluecoat Wood Nurseries and maybe buy a few plants, they are of excellent quality and great value.    

George Mountford   

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