Team Oatridge 

An enthusiastic team of gardeners in West Lothian are working on their Grow & Learn award at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) Oatridge campus and the Pathways service garden.

Team Oatridge, as the group are known, have come together through Pathways, the West Lothian Council service that provides day services to adults with learning disabilities. The service supports activities that encourage lifelong learning and promote health and wellbeing.

Keen to learn more about gardening, Team Oatridge have been attending the SRUC through Pathways for many years and have helped to establish allotments, grow vegetables and assist with the maintenance of the college grounds. They are working on Grow & Learn, The Caley’s horticultural award that recognises individual progress and achievement through flexible and experiential learning.

In 2017, 11 learners from the Pathways group gained their Grow & Learn Roots award and are now working on the next award level, Nurture. Four new students started their horticultural learning on the Roots award in 2018.

What the learners say 

Caitlin completed her Roots award in 2017 and is now working on her Nurture award. From planting fruit seeds to making Japanese-style kokadamas planters, Caitlin has tried out lots of different projects and also helped to build her self-esteem. When asked why she is doing Grow & Learn Caitlin tells us it’s “fun and educational”.

Fellow student Graeme loves to grow vegetables and herbs. “This course makes me happy and excited. I love making food dishes that I can take home,” he explains. “I love the smells from the herbs, especially the basil.”

Alan, who has become an expert at dividing plants, likes working on different projects, especially if it involves the Gardening Scotland event! 

David is doing Grow & Learn so he can grow veg and share these skills with his friends and family. 

Heather loves pink, blue and purple plants and really loves planting bulbs.

What the tutors say

Sinead Frampton and Hazel McGowan are the group’s support workers from Pathways and they accompany Team Oatridge on their visits to the SRUC. 

Sinead has been working with the group since 2017 and comments on delivering the Grow & Learn award: “They all have a folder where we gather pictures and evidence of their work. It is amazing to look back at the work they have all been involved in. It brings real joy when they work on something and see it grow and develop week to week.”

Ray Collinson teaches Team Oatridge at the SRUC where they attend every Tuesday all through the year. She comments: “If the world was full of Pathways students it would be a much better place. They help and care for each other, are full of enthusiasm and are never discouraged by disappointment.” 

Grow & Learn

Grow & Learn offers a learning framework that can be adapted to individual learning needs. From propagation to composting, Grow & Learn Roots award introduces learners to core horticultural skills and provides an opportunity for personal development. Nurture allows the learner to develop their horticultural skills further and to build on knowledge gained in the Roots award. 

Interested in finding out more about the award, contact

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