Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill visited a plant nursery this week to find out more about the work of a social enterprise company.
Mrs Churchill was a guest at Nowton Park Nursery, run by social enterprise company Realise Futures, which provides jobs and therapy through horticulture at the nursery, for adults with disabilities or who have been disadvantaged in some way.
The team of 30 staff there are involved in jobs such as sowing seeds, watering, digging, weeding, pruning, planting and harvesting, as well as serving customers.
Mrs Churchill, a leading advocate for disability employment, was shown around the business and met staff to talk about their work.
Bury St Edmunds has a 67 per cent employment rate for disabled people compared with 40 per cent nationally.
“It was a real pleasure to meet employees at Nowton Park Nursery and hear how much they enjoy working there, and how they are progressing,” said Mrs Churchill.
“I was also interested to find out how this social enterprise helps adults with disabilities elsewhere in the East of England, including employment skills and careers advice.”
Nowton Park Nursery is open all year and is close to Nowton Park Cafe, which is also run by staff from Realise Futures.
Realise Futures, based in Ipswich, is a specialist provider of employment support services, learning, development and careers advice.
As well as horticulture, it supports a further 270 people, 30 per cent of whom are disabled, in either employment or therapeutic placements across the East of England.
Nowton Park Nursery sells plants and flowers as well as supplying many businesses in and around Bury St Edmunds.
Mrs Churchill was invited to see the work of staff at the nursery after Realise Futures attended a Disability Confidence Jobs Fair at West Suffolk College last November, which was hosted by the MP.