In order to support adults with learning disabilities to live life to the full, we bring the community and individuals together!

Being a part of your local community is so important. It connects you to people, services and opportunities and plays a huge role in developing independence.

That is why we work hard to offer a range of activities and services running across the Mendip area and beyond, bringing together communities and engaging with adults with learning disabilities.

We have a huge amount of work experience opportunities available and welcome all abilities and confidence levels. 

As part of our support service we aim to find something for everyone and help them reach their full potential every step of the way!



‘I love going to my job working on the Carnival, I meet lots of people and help in their charity work. When I’m in the Carnival it will bring lots of happiness to all the people watching’.


East Court Resident

Our Community Activities

The Orchard Cafe

A stile is a step, or set of steps providing people with a passage across, or over a boundary, and that is exactly what Stile Gardening will do. It supports adults with learning disabilities into paid employment and supports rural communities in developing and maintaining their green and outdoor spaces, encouraging everyone to come together to achieve.

The Stile Gardening Project has a particular focus, in that it aims to support adults with learning disabilities into employment.  Adults with learning disabilities are a demographic who are currently not well represented within the work force.

Current data demonstrates that 1 in 5 adults with learning disabilities are in paid in employment as opposed to 1 in 2 adults with a physical disability.

Gardening improves physical and mental health, as well as communication and practical skills. We are using it as a tool to bring positive changes to people with learning disabilities as well as the community.

In addition, it aims to bring the community together to tackle social isolation, protect the environment, increase the amount of usable and recreational green spaces and make a difference to the economic health of the area.

This project aims to challenge the barriers to adults with learning disabilities by engaging with the community and by supporting people in a meaningful and sustainable way.

The Stages

One of the biggest challenges facing adults with learning disabilities is access to meaningful opportunities.

The Stile Gardening project, which works in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund, provides adults with learning disabilities with an opportunity to learn new skills, find a passion, integrate within their communities, and access employment.

There are 3 stages to The Stile Gardening Project, it is anticipated that each stage will last for approximately 12 weeks.

Stage 1: Stage 1 provides training on all aspects of gardening, from maintenance in the form of mowing grass, trimming hedges etc., to working with a range of plants.

Orchard Vale Trust works in a person-centred way which means that the needs of every individual are met.

This is a chance to learn totally new skills or build upon skills already gained.  The person-centred approach also allows individuals to find out which aspects of gardening interest them the most.

Stage 2:This is when individuals put their skills into practice.  Working as part of the Community Gardening Team, individuals go to a wide range of jobs and gain experience and confidence working on different aspects of gardening and engaging with the community.

All of the community gardening jobs involve supporting individuals and organisations in the local community who need professional gardening services, but are not in a position to meet the costs.

One of the key aims of Community Gardening is to reduce isolation for those living in rural communities and improve local outdoor spaces.

Stage 3: This is a work placement with Stile Gardening which is a commercial gardening service that employs adults with learning disabilities.  There are two aspects to Stile Gardening:

1.Grounds and garden maintenance;

2.Plants – salad boxes, bedding plants, annual, etc.

During stages 1 and 2 individuals will have had the opportunity to discover which aspects of gardening they are most interested in and the final work placement will be individually designed to reflect the interest and skills of each person.

During their work placement there is the opportunity to work alongside adults with learning disabilities who are employed by Stile Gardening.


Formal qualifications are not for everyone.  Throughout their time with Stile Gardening a detailed record of skills and experiences will be kept which can be shared with future employers or training providers.

There is also the opportunity to gain an ASDAN qualification in gardening.  The person-centred nature of the programme means that the qualification can be taken at any point.  The ASDAN qualification is assessed while individuals are working, and a portfolio of achievements is put together which can be taken forward to employers and training providers.


Stages 1 and 2 are £55.00 per day, based on groups with a ratio of no more than 1:6. *

Stage 3 – Free/No Charge based on a group with a maximum ration of 1:6. **

If individuals need 1:1 support or a smaller group, then this will be costed separately.

Individuals can choose the number of days per week that they wish to attend, depending on available places.

Prior to the beginning of Stage 1 of the project, individuals are invited to visit East Court where the initial gardening training takes place.

They will then have 1 – 2 taster days to ensure that their programme is individualised.

*This includes lunch

**This is fully funded by The National Lottery Community Fund


If you are interested in finding out more about Stile Gardening or Orchard Vale Trust then please contact us at our Head Office: 01749671706 and ask for one of the following:

Mike Williamson or Liz Page.

You can also email us at:

Orchard Vale Trust is working in partnership with Your IT Now to offer adults with learning disabilities IT and digital sessions.

Increasing understanding and positive use of the internet for adults with learning disabilities is our main mission, as well as keeping people safe online.

Thanks to Somerset Community Foundation and the Discovery Community Fund we are able to offer access to 8 brand new iPads – so all you need to bring is yourselves!


How it works

Each session covers an element of being online and using digital tools.

The sessions run for 12 weeks, and we recommend that you commit to all 12 to give you the best possible set up to learning to use the internet in a safe and useful way. But if 12 weeks is too long for you give us a call and we can book you in for whatever sessions interest you most!


The Sessions

Session 1: Getting to know your ipad Session 4: Staying safe online Session 7: Online dating Session 10: Creative studio
Session 2: Emails Session 5: Online shopping Session 8: Social Media Session 11: Finding things
Session 3: The internet Session 6: Hobbies and interests Session 9: Where am I? Session 12: Having fun


Click on the button below to download a more detailed session outline:


Register now!

2 + 12 =


For more information, or if you have a great idea that you would like us to know about please get in touch!

You may also be interested in:

Orchard Vale Trust.
East Court, Doctors Hill, Wookey, Wells, Somerset. BA5 1AR.

Tel: 01749 671706


Registered Charity No. 326940

Company No. 1946592