B-Leaf Garden Centre Cultivates Growth at Summer Grand Opening

B-Leaf trainee, David Griffiths, prepares plants for the official summer opening.

Nestled in Bryngarw Country Park, Bridgend, a dynamic initiative is sprouting to make a difference in lives and landscapes. B-Leaf, an endeavour supporting adults with learning disabilities, has set the date for its official summer opening on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

Spearheaded by the Awen Cultural Trust, B-Leaf is more than just a garden centre; it’s a sanctuary of growth and inclusion. Nestled within the natural beauty of Bryngarw Country Park, B-Leaf operates as a nursery and horticultural training hub, offering a unique blend of hands-on experience and personalised support.

With a focus on individualised training and holistic development, B-Leaf ensures that each trainee receives the support they need to flourish. From mastering horticultural techniques to honing workplace etiquette, B-Leaf offers a comprehensive curriculum tailored to the unique strengths and aspirations of each participant.

The initiative operates throughout the year; however, early summer is historically the time when many people turn their attention to their gardens. This is why the team and its trainees have extended a special invitation for gardeners to attend the official summer opening this year on May 15, where they will have their biggest ever range of plants and flowers available.

B-Leaf, a nursery and horticultural training hub for adults with learning disabilities, official summer opening is on May 15, 2024.
B-Leaf, a nursery and horticultural training hub for adults with learning disabilities, official summer opening is on May 15, 2024.

The impact of B-Leaf extends far beyond its garden gates. With 34 trainees welcomed by the end of 2023, including 10 engaged in accredited training and eight participating in enriching work placements, B-Leaf is paving the way for inclusive employment and social integration.

Also available at the garden centre are products from B-Leaf’s sister-project Wood-B, another work-based initiative run by Awen for adults with learning disabilities based at a carpentry workshop in Tondu. Wood-B trainees are supported by a team of experienced staff to manufacture bespoke and high-quality woodworking and joinery products, including garden benches, bird boxes, noticeboards, sheds, planters, trellises and summer houses.

The aim of both these initiatives is to equip trainees with the skills, qualifications and confidence they need to make the leap into paid employment. All profits from the sale of B-Leaf plants and Wood-B carpentry products are reinvested by Awen back into its work to ‘make people’s lives better’.

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, said:

“At B-Leaf, we believe in the transformative power of nature. Our aim is to provide a nurturing environment where individuals with learning disabilities can thrive, develop essential skills, and cultivate a sense of belonging.

“Our trainees are the heart and soul of B-Leaf and Wood-B. Beyond acquiring practical skills, they form meaningful connections, forge lasting friendships, and discover a newfound sense of purpose within our community. The camaraderie among our team and trainees is truly inspiring, and every day feels like a celebration of growth, friendship, and shared achievement.”