We are a charity which provides supported employment for adults
- with learning disabilities,
- mental health problems,
- mobility issues
- and early onset Alzheimers.
The type of jobs we offer are gardening, woodwork, floristry, conservation work, working in our shop, dealing with customers etc. Some people work one day a week whilst others come Monday to Friday.You have to like working outdoors!
In order to finance our work we rely on: Support from Warrington Social Services, Charitable trusts, sales of vegetables and plants that we grow, sales of seasonal products that we make, short courses that we run in subjects like floristry and those for the RHS.
HISTORY OF THE CHARITY
The Walton Lea Project opened in 1998. The vision to train and employ adults with learning difficulties in horticulture grew out of discussions between Warrington Community Transport and the Supported Learning Department of Warrington Collegiate, Institute at Padgate College Campus during the late 1990’s. A traditional one acre Victorian walled garden at Walton Lea in the south west of the borough, owned by Warrington Borough Council, lay overgrown and idle and this would be the home of the new charity. We can be thankful that the people who had this vision put a successful lottery bid together in 1997 and the charity was born.Warrington Collegiate itself also continued to provide horticultural courses for adults with learning difficulties at its Long Lane site but withdrew from this activity in 2007. Our charity was able to take over the Long Lane site and increase the number of adults that it supports.
HISTORY OF THE WALTON LEA SITE
The walled garden was part of a mansion built by George Crosfield in 1864. His brother John bought it in 1875 when George moved to London. The Armitage family then bought it the early 1900’s when the rest of the Crosfield family moved to London. When they sold it in 1923 the Greenall family, political rivals of the Crosfields, acquired it and eventually demolished it, leaving the cottages, lodge and the walled kitchen garden intact.The Victorians were meticulous in siting and sizing their gardens. Ours measures one acre and the land slopes downwards from the south-facing wall toward the north-facing wall, so that it “tilts” towards the sun. In 1942, the kitchen garden at Walton Lea, which had recently been acquired by Warrington Borough Council, as part of a plot, which covered over 48 acres, was used for intensive vegetable growing. The Walton Lea garden, in the early days of Warrington Borough Council ownership, produced all the year round vegetables and tomatoes for the hospitals, and privets for the new estates of Warrington. The emphasis then changed to becoming a nursery for growing trees, shrubs and young plants. There was heavy investment in the Youth Training Schemes (YTS) at Walton Lea. The present greenhouses were built with YTS money. The nursery closed around 1990 when it was deemed no longer economically viable. The Walton Lea Project ushered in another new and productive episode in the life of this lovely garden.