A CHARITY dedicated to providing work-based activities for adults with learning and physical disabilities has unveiled plans to extend its base to sell the goods grown and manufactured on the site.

Northdale Horticulture, which serves Hambleton and Richmondshire districts, has applied to Hambleton District Council to build a garden shop and workshop on its site at Yafforth Road, Northallerton, to help minimise the risk of its vulnerable clients catching Covid.

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Originally providing work-based activities in garden nursery work, contract gardening and woodwork, the charity has since expanded its work activities to include arts and crafts, drama, catering and fabrication.

Papers submitted to the authority state Northdale also provides ongoing day services for more than 70 vulnerable adults a week.

It runs a range of workshop settings with clients, many of whom have been with the charity since it was founded in 1988, typically being supported at a ratio of six to one.

Agents for Northdale said the proposed new building featured a plant shop to replace the charity's original store in the main building at Northdale.

The planning application states: "With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic they decided to move the shop outside the main building to reduce the possibility of a Covid infection being introduced into the building via a visiting member of the general public.

"Northdale supports many vulnerable clients and are required to minimise the risk of a Covid infection within the service.

"At present they serve their customers via a small wooden kiosk, which does not allow the charity to adequately display the full range of products and services, created within the charity's work groups, by vulnerable adults attending the service."

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The papers state the proposed building would allow Northdale to move their existing nursery team into the garden nursery area, allowing the charity to redevelop the former potting room into a purpose built space designed to accommodate young people aged 19-25 with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD).

While Northdale says it supports a small number of young people with PMLD but this number is projected to increase over the next three to five years.

Agents for Northdale added: "The proposal will allow their clients to work in a protective environment, whilst also providing a more professional sales area, reflecting Northdale Horticulture’s desire to enhance the public’s awareness of the products that they grow and manufacture."


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