In the lead-up to spring, we all hope to fill our 2019 with happiness, light and opportunities to grow. One person doing just that is Ashley Willis, who is helping to transform the gardens of the Outreach 3 Way day centre in Crawley, West Sussex.
The 27-year-old has been supported by Site and Locality Manager Matthew Cairns to explore his passion for horticulture with the hope of eventually getting a job in this field. Using a wide range of gardening equipment – including mowers, strimmers, leaf-blowers and a hand-held trowel – Ashley is encouraging both the landscape and his own confidence to blossom.
“This passion is something that has always been a part of Ashley,” says Matthew.
It’s also been an enjoyable experience for Matthew, who started working for Dimensions as a part-time driver after retiring from HM Prison Service and worked his way up to his current position.
He explains: “I have taken a proactive approach to working with the people we support by introducing a paid work session, and this has enabled 12 people into work with a minimum wage. I hope to in turn generate a programme so we can move more people into the community – giving them their own money and ownership of life.