Kate Marjanovic, who has been providing frontline support at national learning disability charity Hft over the course of the pandemic, was inspired to take on the project by the people she supports, who have been unable to attend their day opportunities service over the last year.
The 31-year-old, who has been working at the charity since 2019, is now hoping to raise the £1,000 needed to transform the garden into a tranquil oasis for people to enjoy, when restrictions allow.
Located at specialist autism service Focus Autism Bradford, the large outdoor space is set to be renovated into a communal space for people with learning disabilities supported at Hft services across Bradford to use.
The garden is currently filled with unused fruit and vegetable planters, with plans in place to clear space for a large area where people can play games or enjoy a picnic. Work is already underway, with Kate and other staff members planting some new greenery as well as painting a fence and swing set.
The support worker is hoping to have the garden ready in time for summer this year, with the new space set to provide a much-needed area where people can relax, socialise and enjoy educational activities.
Kate also hopes people attending the service will be able to make the new garden their own by getting involved in painting and planting fruits and vegetables.
Focus Autism in Bradford supports seven adults with autism to live the best life possible, and runs activities both at the service and within the community.
From arts and crafts and music to day trips to the seaside, the service aims to equip people with autism with new skills, boost their confidence and wellbeing, and support them to take part in new experiences, using person-centred support tailored to each individual.
Since launching her fundraiser last year, Kate has already raised £90 by sharing the appeal on social media and receiving donations from family members and friends.
Donations from local garden centres and hardware shops have also helped Kate and the team make a start on the renovation.
Kate said: ‘Along with the rest of my team, I’ve been providing one to one support to people with learning disabilities over the course of the last 12 months.
‘This has included walks in local parks and time spent spotting wildlife over the moors and has helped to support people to get used to the big changes in their lives by providing intensive interaction.
‘While this is a much-needed lifeline for people, nothing compares to spending time together at our brilliant day service. That’s why we’ve decided to transform our outdoor space ahead of hopefully re-opening later this year.
‘The project is giving us something to focus on during a hard time and we’re really looking forward to seeing it come together.’
Julia Kinch, divisional fundraising manager at Hft, said: ‘We’re so proud of Kate and the team, who are not only providing vital support for people with learning disabilities during the pandemic, but also making time to create a brand new space for them to enjoy.
‘With progress well underway, we’re hoping that local people will be able to put some money towards this important project, which will help people with autism enjoy new opportunities during the hopefully brighter months ahead.’
To donate, visit Kate’s fundraising page.
Photo Credit – Pixabay