The therapeutic benefits of a garden environment will soon be enjoyed by adults with autism in east Cork thanks to the growing endeavours of a group of five chiropractors.

The chiropractors, from Optimal Chiropractic in Cork, took on the challenge of growing food at work as part of a campaign organised by GIY — GrowItYourself, a global movement to encourage people to grown their own in the community — and ready-meal makers Cully & Sully.

They were so successful in their efforts that they beat competition from 450 companies that had taken part in the grow-your-own campaign, #GivePeasAChance.

The upshot was the offer of a food garden worth €3,000 to donate to a charity or community group of their choice plus €2,000 worth of vouchers for Ballymaloe House and Cookery School.

The chiropractors chose the Cork Association for Autism as beneficiaries. And yesterday a new kitchen garden was planted at the association’s centre in Mogeely.

The garden will offer services users one to one horticultural therapy, according to the centre’s horticultural co-ordinator, Emma Hutchinson.

“For our service users, this is invaluable, they get an opportunity to enjoy one-to-one sessions in horticultural therapy,” she said.

“This is wonderful to get them out and about in the fresh air but also it helps greatly with anxiety and it is also very rewarding for them to see their seeds transform into food they can eat.

“Knowing that they nurtured that cycle, it builds enormous levels of independence.”

As the garden is large, Ms Hutchinson said they have teamed up with a restaurant in Midleton, so excess vegetables will be used by the restaurant at peak times, allowing service users to build links in the community.

Crobally Service Centre in Mogeely provides residential care and respite care to 30 service users. Just last week an additional building was officially opened at the centre, enabling the Cork Association for Autism to also support 14-day service users aged 18-28.

The service provides person-centred support and skill development programmes to adults on the autism spectrum throughout Cork.

To take part in the 2016 #GivePeasAChance scheme go to cullyandsully.com/ourgarden and register.


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