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England: Initiative of the National Blind Gardener's Club WithSupport of the National Lottery

  • Subject: [cg] England: Initiative of the National Blind Gardener's Club WithSupport of the National Lottery
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 15:20:36 -0500

Perhaps we might find something in this initiative we can use to make our gardens more inclusive to blind folks, 
Adam Honigman
By Ben Pindar, Community Newswire
NATURE Blind, 21 Mar 2006 - 08:41
A major new national club being launched today is aiming to get blind and partially-sighted people involved in gardening.
Thrive, a charity that uses gardening to improve the lives of disabled people, and the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) have joined forces to launch the National Blind Gardeners' Club with the support of the Big Lottery Fund.
The aim of the new club is to encourage more visually impaired people to enjoy the benefits of gardening, help people share information and techniques and provide a national voice for blind and partially-sighted gardeners.
The benefits of club membership include a quarterly gardening magazine, advice, practical courses held across the UK and a library of accessible information, including tactile diagrams.
To mark the launch of the National Blind Gardeners' Club, Thrive has also kicked off the Blind Gardener of the Year 2006 awards.
Now in its second year, the popular competition is designed to celebrate the enthusiasm, skills and achievements of blind gardeners across the UK.
The categories range from inspirational and inventive gardeners to wildlife enthusiasts and small space gardening. There is also a section for young visually impaired gardeners of school or college age.
"As a national charity which focuses on the needs of people with a disability, we know from experience that gardening has a valuable therapeutic benefit," said Nicola Carruthers, chief executive of Thrive.
"Last year's Blind Gardener of the Year awards showed the tremendous enthusiasm there is out there for gardening - with stories of creativity and innovation.
"We are looking forward to more inspirational entries this year which will show just how important gardening is to many people's lives - and the enjoyment and confidence it can bring."
The principle manager of RNIB Recreation and Well-being, Eleanor Ellison, said: "I am delighted that RNIB are yet again involved in this initiative.
"Last year's Blind Gardener of the Year competition highlighted the importance of leisure in blind and partially-sighted people's lives.
"Gardening has proved to be an activity that gives blind and partially-sighted people a real sense of well-being and self worth, and we welcome the launch of the National Blind Gardeners' Club which will undoubtedly encourage many more blind and partially-sighted people to get involved in gardening."
A distinguished panel of judges, including leading gardening writer and broadcaster Pippa Greenwood, will combine their professional expertise to select the winners of this year's competition. The closing date for entries is July 31 and the winners will be announced in September 2006.
To find out more about Thrive's services for visually impaired gardeners, the new National Blind Gardeners' Club or Blind Gardener of the Year 2006, visit www.thrive.org.uk or contact Lucy Morrell at Thrive on 0118 988 5688 or bgoty@thrive.org.uk

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