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Braywick Heath Nurseries spring fair

Will Taylor

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Will Taylor

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Animals, plants, and opportunities were on display at the Braywick Heath Nurseries spring fair on Saturday.

The Braywick Road-based centre kicked off the start of gardening season by offering people a range of garden plants and fun for children, including animals for them to meet.

It employs and helps a number of people who have disabilities or are in need of support.

Robin Pemberton, 71, one of the founders of Braywick Nurseries, said: "We have got 20 people who come here for support. It's during the week, not every day.

"Then we've got about 20 community volunteers who support them.

The money raised from the spring fair helps keep the business running.

Plant sales account for about half its income.

The garden shop employs eight staff, and about 20 people with various difficulties work in the shop during the week.

They help with odd jobs around the centre, which provides them with work experience and the chance to feel more independent.

Mr Pemberton added: "We're here for people who need support, and need an opportunity to get their lives together and get into a job and move up, which is exactly what society needs them to do."

The site is also home to alternative education provision rooms, for children who have been excluded from school.

An English as a foreign language course also runs in one of the nurseries' rooms.

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