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Mill Lane: At least you can still get a Christmas tree

Garden centre which helps people with learning disabilities

06 November, 2020 — By Tom Foot

A GARDEN centre which helps people with learning disabilities is gearing-up for Christmas despite the second lockdown.

The Mill Lane Garden Centre in West Hampstead will once again be selling trees in partnership with Unity Works.

All proceeds from trees fund the pioneering project that builds confidence in its trainees with practical employment experience.

Several of the trainees – who are diagnosed with conditions like dyslexia and ADHD – help out at the centre all year round but there is always a big focus on Christmas, said Unity Works manager Milly Wheeler.

She said: “It’s where most of our sales come from and it’s really important to us. So we’re just hoping that even if you can’t see your family in large groups, people will still want a Christmas tree – so at least they can have a hint of Christmas in their home.”

The annual Christmas lights switch-on in Fortune Green also helps raise funds for the project, but looks unlikely to take place this year because of Covid.

Ms Wheeler said: “Lots of people we support have lost their job this year. We have had catering jobs – basic jobs – where there’s been another 4,000 people applying. “The conventional methods of applying for jobs like going online and writing a CV, even the interviews, are more difficult for people with learning disabilities.”

The Mill Lane Garden tree scheme has online ordering and delivery this year.

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