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Pluss, a Community Interest Company within the Seetec Group, runs The Green Hand Gang, a gardening project for people with learning disabilities, as part of the BBO Hopeful Families programme in Halifax, West Yorkshire.

Seetec is an employee-owned leading provider of employability, skills and justice services in the UK and Ireland. It is a people-focused organisation and, in 2022, supported 101,145 individuals through all of its combined services – helping people to find employment, improve their skills, or to make better life choices following direct lived experience in the criminal justice system.

Delivering social value in the communities it serves is at the heart of everything Seetec does.

The Green Hand Gang is one example.  Through a local family mentor and a horticultural therapist, the scheme provides people of all ages, with a learning disability or autism, the opportunity and environment to learn a range of skills.  These can be learnt indoors and outdoors, and in a way that is fun, social and stimulating. Gardening is used as the vehicle to develop a vast range of crucial life skills such as teamwork, communication skills, planning, hand-eye coordination and being rewarded after all the effort put in.

The team started with a complete blank canvas and worked together to design and grow a garden with a wildlife pond, vegetables, and growing from seed. The participants have benefited from building their confidence, taking part in physical activity, and being mindful through planting and caring for the garden. In this way the project is able to support the participants according to each individual’s strengths as a person, whilst building as much fun, laughter, friendship and teamwork as possible into the activity.

This project supported seven young adults with learning difficulties, and has had a positive impact on the local community. There is a gap for good employability support for young adults with learning difficulties, so Pluss wanted to create a project that brings employability out of the classroom and into nature, where participants can learn vital work based skills while keeping active and improving wellbeing. The garden that has been developed will continue to benefit the community as it is open for all to enjoy.


A short video of the project is available here: