We have provided support to Autism Initiatives Scotland for their horticulture-based training and employment scheme for autistic people in Edinburgh and the Lothians. This is based at the Hermitage Golf Course, right next to Blackford Hill.
We classify this as a social enterprise award. For more on our interest in "social enterprise", see this page.
Autism Initiatives Scotland (AIS) is part of the national charity Autism Initiatives UK. They have been providing direct support services in Scotland since 2004, mainly to local authorities, and have a reputation as a flexible, innovative service provider, offering a range of high quality services.
One of their key services, of which this project would be a part, is providing purposeful and enjoyable activities for adults with autism throughout the week. The aim of these services is to maximise the use of community facilities, and support service users to develop occupationally fulfilling lifestyles.
Photos courtesy of Autism Initiatives Scotland
As well as providing productive outdoor work for their service users, the the project at the Hermitage will create a small horticultural "social enterprise". It is intended to grow trees and shrubs, vegetables, herbs and other plants.
Outcomes and lessons
Very substantial progress has been made by Autism Initiatives Scotland at the Hermitage site during 2011. The horticulture site is now in a permanent location, fenced, and with one polytunnel in place, with more to follow shortly. AIS has also taken over the operation of the Hermitage Golf Course and the cafe in the clubhouse, with offers additional opportunities for social enterprise as well as training and personal development for their service users. In all, nearly 30 adults with autism are regularly involved at the site.
All the staff and volunteers at the Hermitage are to be congratulated for their superb achievements for 2011.
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This page was last updated on 6 February 2012.
The Blackford Trust, c/o Gillespie Macandrew LLP (B.12891.1), 5 Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 8EJ, Scotland, United Kingdom