Students and staff from the charity, Horticap, enjoyed a tour and hands-on work experience at leading horticultural nursery Johnsons of Whixley on Wednesday 12 July.
Horticap’s qualified staff and team of volunteers provide adults with learning difficulties with training in horticulture, allied crafts and rural skills.
The group enjoyed a visit to the board room and a guided tour of the Johnsons nursery site and gained a first-hand insight into operations in the Xpress Cash and Carry division of the business.
The tour was hosted by Johnsons of Whixley chairman John Richardson, who celebrates his 80th birthday in September, and who still plays an active role in the running of the business.
John said: “We were delighted to welcome the students from Horticap, alongside their excellent supervisors, Phil and Erica, who were also keen to pick up production ideas which might be useful at Horticap.
“I always enjoy talking to visitors, particularly when they are young and motivated by growing plants, and the delight and surprise on the faces of these youngsters as they saw the volumes and variety of large scale production, was wonderful to see.
“As youngsters they were keen to see inside one of our big trucks, which was about to leave for Scotland, and insisted on having their photos taken in the driving seat. It was a totally new experience for all of them.
“Horticap is a truly admirable organisation, and they need, and truly deserve, the support of all our horticultural friends.”
Horticap assistant manager, Phil Airey, said: “We were made to feel so welcome by Johnsons of Whixley. Our students had a great time and learnt a lot about the industry.
“One of our student said afterwards said it was one of the best days he’s had, so we are grateful to Johnsons for hosting us, and for being so supportive of our efforts in general.”
Johnsons of Whixley has provided empty pots to Horticap for many years, whilst also supplying plants and other horticultural products to their charitable projects.
Based in Harrogate, Horticap’s students complete work under supervision throughout their local community.
The charity also raises funds by selling gardening accessories and gifts, as well as perennials, bedding plants and shrubs cultivated by Horticap’s own students and staff.