Saturday, 13 April 2013

The GreenHouse

the greenhouse

Since it started in October 2010 the GreenHouse has been getting a lot of attention.  The GreenHouse aims to provide a worthwhile alternative to traditional day service opportunities for people with learning disabilities.  Offering a variety of work related skills, as well as developing living skills, the GreenHouse is working with people to encourage independence, self reliance and employability. 

5 April 2013   GreenHouse at QE2 Activity Centre opened thanks to Southampton Airport Community Fund Big Idea 
The GreenHouse, a purpose-built day centre for people with learning disabilities at the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Activities Centre was officially opened on Friday 5 April. The venue, situated within Manor Farm Country Park was made possible with funding from Southampton Airport Community Fund Big Idea project.

A tree planting ceremony, a ribbon cutting and a plaque unveiling were all part of the opening event on Friday 5 April as representatives from funders Southampton Airport, builders Foreman Homes and centre users, the ‘Green Team’ got together for a celebration to mark the occasion.

The new GreenHouse is a fully accessible and environmentally sound building which means that users of the centre, the ‘GreenTeam’ will have a dedicated venue to use close to their allotment and workshop areas. The new building consists of a workspace which can be used as a classroom, dining room or meeting room, comfortable seating area, a kitchen with accessible work-surface as well as toilets and wash areas.

The GreenHouse building was made possible thanks to a grant of £50,000 from Southampton Airport Community Fund Big Idea project. In addition to the financial support from Southampton Airport Community Fund, Southampton Airport staff and volunteers helped with ground clearing in preparation for the building work.

Dave Lees, Managing Director of Southampton Airport officially opened the building on behalf of the Southampton Airport Community Fund. He said:    “The GreenHouse is a fantastic local community project that we are delighted to be associated with. After seeing the plans and proposals and helping with the ground clearing works it is wonderful to now see the new building become a reality. I have no doubt that the GreenHouse will continue to go from strength to strength.
Lynda Lee, GreenHouse co-ordinator said:    “The Green Team now has the space to grow and develop further, providing a better service to more and more people. It would not have been possible without the support of Southampton Airport Community Fund.

That's from the Southampton Airport website.   We are indebted to Southampton Airport for their support which has allowed QE2 Activity Centre to put up this building and provide a day service facility that we can be really proud of. Thanks!

Here's a bit more:
The value of the GreenHouse was spotted early on by Southampton Airport Community Trust who invited us to bid for a Big Idea grant. We had a big idea – we wanted a new building for the Green Team.   So we thought about what we wanted, what we needed and asked our team members what they wanted and we put together a bid.  We wanted a building that was big enough for the Green Team (a Team that we expect to grow further), with a decent sized kitchen, with toilets and washing facilities, with all the facilities that the Team needs.  We wanted a building that the Green Team could be proud of.
We told Southampton Airport Community Trust what we wanted, why we wanted it and what a difference it would make; they listened and they said yes.  We asked local building company Foreman Homes for help in putting together the plans and putting up the building we wanted for the price we could afford (obviously the building we wanted cost more than we could afford!).  Foreman were very accommodating and managed to shave the costs so that we got the best building we could.

 Today we opened the new day service building
The success of the GreenHouse project is due in no small part to Lynda Lee who has provided a challenging, stimulating, varied and purposeful programme with a great deal of enthusiasm even on the coldest and wettest of days. Together with Robyn, who runs the Gold day service, Graham, who runs Team Q, plus Jade and Oana, who help with all the day services, we have a great staff team!

March 2013
The Green Team test driving the sofa.  Approved.
February 2013
Work on the new GreenHouse building started last November and is now close to completion. 

January 2013
work was delayed a little bit on account of the weather

earlier in 2012
We have been very lucky to secure funding from BAA Communities Trust which will cover a large part of the cost.  We are also fortunate to be receiving support from local building company Foreman Homes. They have been instrumental in drawing up plans and getting the Centre's grounds surveyed.
  The plans have been drawn up by HGP Architects of Wickham at no cost and the grounds were surveyed by Encompass Surveys of Fair Oak.  Encompass director Steve Hall said "great place, great cause, good project and absolutely no question we will provide our services free of charge and asap"
Work is due to start at the beginning of November and be complete by February 2013.
From the start the GreenHouse has been fortunate to get help from a number of organisations including staff from British Gas who helped clear the land for the allotment, shoppers atWaitrose in Portswood, young people from the Chatterbox (Hedge End, West End and Botley youth council), staff from HCC Manor Farm Country ParkGroundworks Solent,Eastleigh Borough Council and especially GE Aviation at Hamble who have made donations of money and materials as well as volunteer hours.  Staff from Southampton Airport at Eastleigh also came along  in Spring to do some clearing. 
We are very grateful for all of this support. If you'd like your company name to be added to the roll call of honour let me know!

Southampton Airport Communities Trust
Southampton Airport
Foreman Homes
GE Aviation
HGP Architects
Encompass Surveys
British Gas
Chatterbox (Hedge End, West End and Botley youth council)
HCC Manor Farm Country Park
Groundworks Solent
Eastleigh Borough Council