Perth horticultureA new horticultural social enterprise has been established in Perth that aims to get people with learning disabilities, as well as those recovering from mental ill health and other disabilities, job ready.

The project, a partnership between employment, learning and skills charity, Shaw Trust and Perth & Kinross Council, is based at the Westbank Plant Nursery on Jeanfield Road in Perth. It was officially launched on May 23 by John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North at an event where more than 100 guests attended.

The horticultural project offers employment and training opportunities for people recovering from mental ill health and disabilities, as well as adults with learning difficulties who are currently supported by services provided by Perth & Kinross Council through 6-month employment placements. 

It also provides Perthshire’s gardeners and businesses with the plants, advice and equipment they need. 

Perth & Kinross Council’s housing & health convener councillor Dave Doogan said: “The creation of a social enterprise at Westbank came about through the Housing and Community Care Transformation Project on Employability. This initiative will provide employment and training opportunities for vulnerable people currently supported by Perth & Kinross Council services. Ultimately the aim is to celebrate the exit of those individuals from the social enterprise into permanent employment opportunities or further training opportunities.”

Shaw Trust’s chief executive, Roy O’Shaughnessy, added: “We believe everyone should have the opportunity to find work, and actively contribute to family and community life. Our partnership with Perth & Kinross Council helps people to overcome the hurdles they might encounter on their journeys into employment, supporting them to learn new skills, gain all-important work experience and get their lives on track; while making valuable contributions to the welfare and wellbeing of their communities.”