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Braywick Heath Nurseries celebrates 20th anniversary

The first customer of Braywick Heath Nurseries returned to the site on Friday, March 31, to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Former mayor Ady Sheldon opened the nurseries in Braywick Park on Monday, March 24, 1997 and purchased weed killer. An anniversary celebration was held on Friday with staff, volunteers and friends, including the current mayor, Sayonara Luxton.

Robin Pemberton, one of the founders, said: “It was a great day. We had both mayors together and we recreated the photo from 1997.”

Braywick Heath Nurseries provides disabled people with employment, training and work experience and currently has 40 volunteers.

Since it opened, half a million pounds has been spent improving the facilities and expanding the site, which now includes three training rooms and an IT suite.

Speaking about some of the volunteers on the autistic spectrum, Mr Pemberton, who has an adult son with autism said: “It’s an important group, they don’t fit into learning disabilities, or mental illness, and it’s somewhere in-between.

“We provide the volunteers with training, and a job, and something they can put on their CV.”

He says the nursery has struggled recently, since more supermarkets started selling plants.

“We are a not-for-profit company but we’re also not-for-loss, and we need more customers and we need the people of Maidenhead,” he said.

“We need to step it up a notch and keep it going; we need the support so we can support people with learning disabilities.”

Negotiations are currently taking place between the nurseries and the council, so part of the site can be built on to create a new home for Forest Bridge School.

When asked about the future of the site, Robin said: “I do want to leave a legacy, this facility is essential in Maidenhead.

“It’s just finding a sensible way to fit it all together in a sensible way, and also protect the business.”

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