As part of the groundworks, and in recognition of the iconic site’s legacy in Milton Keynes, along with investment partner Patron Capital, they have been working with Milton Keynes City Council and the local community to rehome the hundreds of plants which were housed in the former council office’s atrium.
After hearing about our charity for adults with learning disabilities, Socius partnered with the City Council and arranged for the then-redundant irrigation system to be removed and installed into the raised garden beds at the Camphill site.
Tucked away in Willen Park, our allotments grow fruit and vegetables, feeding more than 500 people weekly. An essential part of our community’s daily activities, the gardening workshops are attended by up to 24 individuals with learning disabilities and autism and supported by skilled support workers. In addition, our service users participate in horticultural activities as part of their personal development.
Our allotments are currently being expanded into a paddock, previously used for horse grazing, which will soon boast poly-tunnels, raised beds, sensory gardens, an edible forest and a story-telling circle. The produce grown goes into the homes of the residents feeding them and the staff who support them. The fruit, vegetables and salad also supply our on-site vegetarian Café, which boasts around 300 visitors weekly. The Café is open to the public (Monday to Friday) and offers exciting meat-free lunches, cakes, and bread made on-site in their artisan bakery.
Steve Eccles, Director for Socius, comments: “We are delighted to support Camphill MK with the installation of the irrigation system from the Saxon Court site. It was wonderful to visit the site and meet people from the community, see the allotments and paddock and try some of the produce at The Camphill Café. Socius are advocates for sustainable development, and it was great to hear how sustainable Camphill MK is. The irrigation system will go some way to supporting these objectives – we look forward to partnering with them again in the future.”
Tim Davies, CEO at Camphill MK, comments: Tim Davies, CEO at Camphill MK, comments: “There is a wealth of clinical research evidence linking positive mental health outcomes with a balanced diet including fresh fruit and vegetables, and the risk of dementia can be significantly reduced through healthy eating. So it is vital that we provide healthy dishes grown without pesticides and with minimal (in fact, zero) food miles attached to them. Working in the garden is a wonderful physical activity benefitting our residents in so many ways.”
We are very excited about the partnerships with Socius on the irrigation development in our paddocks.