Lexden Springs pupils get gardening masterclass at Alderwood Care Home in Colchester

Ron Spencer with Lexden Springs School pupils Kieran, left, and John. Picture: ALDERWOOD CARE HOME

Ron Spencer with Lexden Springs School pupils Kieran, left, and John. Picture: ALDERWOOD CARE HOME - Credit: Alderwood Care Home

Green fingered pupils at Colchester’s Lexden Springs School got a masterclass from a 96-year-old gardening guru.

Ron Spencer shared his gardening knowledge with the pupils while helping them to plant seeds and bulbs in the gardens of Alderwood Care Home.

The pupils, aged 16 and over, have been visiting the home for a number of months on Thursday mornings to gain experience. Up until now they have worked inside the home.

Nicky Peters, a teacher at Lexden Springs, said: “Our aim with this initiative is to provide a safe and supportive environment for our students who have a wide range of learning difficulties to gain meaningful work experience. The students really look forward to coming to the home on a Thursday and it empowers them to use their practical skills and make a difference to the lives of others.

“It is clear already that this is working for both students and residents – bringing great joy to all concerned.

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“Many of the children’s parents have already commented on what a positive effect this work experience is having.

“They are enjoying being able to help other vulnerable people who need support and it is teaching them valuable life skills.

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“I am sure that working with Ron will further increase their confidence and enjoyment.”

Mr Spencer, who has been resident at Alderwood for four years, said: “I am more than happy to tell the students about my experiences with gardening and teach them what I can. To be able to share my passion makes me happy.

“I remember first using my horticultural skills 70 years ago when I taught a group of young people to make a game out of planting potatoes.”

Many residents at Alderwood have their own small garden. Once the youngsters have picked up some key tips from Mr Spencer, they will then go on to help plant and tend the gardens of those residents who are unable to look after their own gardens themselves.

Nikki Leaney, manager of Alderwood, said: “We love having the young people here and they are already well integrated into our community.

“They are forming very positive relationships with our residents and their self-confidence is clearly growing.”

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