Hft UgleyA project that aimed to increase independence and broaden opportunities for personal growth for people with learning disabilities has been completed, and an event has taken place to celebrate it.

The project involved the rejuvenation of the Ugley Garden and Learning Development Centre, which is run by learning disability charity Hft, as its Hertfordshire and Essex service.

As part of this, a fundraising effort netted the charity £110,000, which was used to improve accessibility and provide training and learning opportunities in gardening and pottery.

To celebrate the completion of the project, on September 20 about 100 guests integral to the development of the project, including people supported by Hft and their families, staff, trustees, volunteers and fundraisers were invited to an event at the garden centre.  

There, groups were given guided tours before enjoying a hog roast, followed by a series of speeches.  Among those who spoke was Hft’s chief executive, Robert Longley-Cook, who gave a presentation highlighting the difference the funds raised had made to the service. 

Other speeches included Hft’s major partnerships manager, Hilary Colbert, who thanked guests for their generosity and ongoing commitment to the completion of the project, and Bob Grimmett, who spoke about the positive impact of the updated learning development centre for his daughter and the other residents.

The event closed with the presentation of paintings of birds commissioned by families to two members of staff and a volunteer in recognition of their hard work throughout this project. 

Longley-Cook said the event was a chance to celebrate the completion of the project and showcase how the service had evolved. “In these challenging economic times, fundraising efforts are vital in supporting the creative design of our services, to ensure we can continue to provide the best possible support,” he said.  

“The regeneration of the garden and learning development centre offers more opportunities for greater levels of independence and personal growth.  This would not have been possible without the generosity and dedication of families, staff and all those who have helped raised the money needed to see this project come to fruition.”