Growing together by Kirsty, Darren and Mark, The Tuesday and Thursday gardeners

Kirsty, Darren and Mark are three of the Tuesday & Thursday gardeners at their Mencap group. It’s one of many Mencap services bringing people with a learning disability together with their community .

Lots of the food the gardeners grow goes to neighbouring cafés, often used by older people. The whole community’s involved, with coffee grounds for compost coming from a local recruitment firm and woodchips from a tree surgeon.

Read Kirsty's blog to find out what she loves about getting outdoors, and how our Me Time service has made a difference to her.

Darren's gardening tip: "Use old wooden pallets for planters and benches."

If you saw our Christmas 2021 appeal, you may remember Darren. 

He’s now a real convert to healthy eating and always asks what he can take home from the veg patch for dinner. Darren says “I love the banter between everyone here – and any job needing some tools or a paintbrush.”

Darren in a polytunnel gardening
A donation today...

could help local gardening groups purchase gardening tools and equipment, from spades to wheelbarrows.


could help provide activity groups for adults with a learning disability to meet up and learn new skills.


could help people with a learning disability get involved in their local communities, meet others and take part in fun activities, preventing them from being isolated and lonely.

Please donate whatever you can spare

Together, we can help transform the lives of people with a learning disability this Spring.

Donate today

Mark's gardening tip: "Re-pot tomato plants in a larger pot as they grow."

Mark enjoys the practical side of gardening, including the hard work of weeding. Living alone, Mencap also supports Mark with day-to-day needs, such as arranging medical appointments.

“I work with loads of people here. I’ve got really good friends. Being outside and getting fresh air is the best.” 

Mark - from The Tuesday and Thursday gardening club

"We love making friends.

Two men on a bench talking in a garden

And supporting each other as a team. We’re all enthusiastic about being outdoors in all weathers, almost!"

Good relationships are vital to mental wellbeing, but too many people with a learning disability feel lonely.

"We love being in nature.

Kirsty and Darren gardening

As well as gardening, some of us enjoy birdwatching and looking after the wildlife, from insects to newts and frogs."

Connections to nature reduce stress, but too many people with a learning disability are trapped indoors.

"We love learning new things.

Mark gardening

Digging, planting, making compost, growing plants, building birdboxes… There’s always lots to learn and do."

Picking up skills boosts self-confidence, but too many people with a learning disability lack work-life opportunities.

"We love exercising in the garden.

Kirsty, Mark and Darren gardening

There’s plenty of outdoor space to go for walks, stay active, have fun, and find a quiet place if feeling anxious."

Keeping active is key to good health and happiness, but too many people with a learning disability are excluded from physical activities.

Donating whatever you can adds up to be totally amazing

"Your donation will help people like me to learn new skills and feel more confident. Thank you!"

- Kirsty.

Kirsty in a greenhouse