• Adam’s last gardening blog and a fond goodbye

    An image of Adam, Autism at Kingwood Gardening Coordinator


    September has been a busy month for us at the Henley Project. Despite successional planting we have still ended up with a bit of a glut! But that is not a bad thing, as we have been able to save lots of seeds for next year and have been able to offer people lots of goodies.

    We have cleared much of our summer planting now and put in some winter veg. We also have a few hardy bits dotted around that will produce steadily until spring. The site is looking really well with tidy beds and paths that just give you a sense of the season (probably the first time that has happened all year!).

    Over the next month or so we will be collecting lots of leaves which will rot down for potting compost and also used as leaf-mould to be put directly on the growing beds, you can’t buy better. We have begun to plan our winter projects; the main focus will be at the front end of the site. We need to create a deeper bean trench; the one we currently use is in a great location so we don’t want to move it, but with the lack of crop rotation there is little goodness left in the ground. So, we plan to build up the trench and pack it with organic material. We also need to build some kind of protection for our soft fruit bushes. While we love to help nature, the birds tend to harvest more than we do, so some cover is needed to even our odds a bit. Of course over winter there will be the regular jobs of painting, tidying and sorting as well as plenty of DIY projects to keep everyone busy.

    On a personal note;

    I have been asked to share a little bit of personal news with you; I will be leaving Autism at Kingwood on the 7th of this month and I’m sure we’ll have a wonderful replacement in situ very soon.

    I came to Kingwood almost six years ago when I started as a Support Worker. I was new to the area and new to care and thought that this role would fit around my family for a few months until I found a “proper job”. I moved to Reading from London where I had worked for 8 years as a bus driver trainer so it was quite a change. I very quickly realised that this was indeed a “proper job” and I initially found all the training quite overwhelming. I soon found my feet and stayed in my role as a Support Worker for three years before joining the Berkshire Outreach Team as Support Team Coordinator for eighteen months and then took on the role of Gardening Coordinator. I have absolutely loved my time with Kingwood and have met so many amazing people, I’ve had some intense challenges and incredibly highs.

    It’s a workplace like nothing else I have ever experienced. I have always felt supported by my colleagues in all departments and this has enabled me to provide the best support I possibly could to our service users. It is with a genuinely heavy heart that I move on and I’m incredibly grateful and proud to have been part of Autism at Kingwood. I am now embarking on yet another career shift and entering the world of kitchen design- sounds odd I know, but it is something I’ve been drawn to for a few years and feel that now is the right time for both me and my family to have a bit of a reset.

    I will certainly be keeping an eye out for all the exciting updates I’m sure are to come from both individuals and the organisation as a whole, I will miss you all dearly.


    Abi Cowley

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