New charity’s planter scheme takes root

Young people making planters. "Friends of Embark" story
Young people making planters. "Friends of Embark" story

Thanks to a new charitable trust called Friends of Embark, adults with learning difficulties are honing their carpentry skills making flower and herb planters to sell to the public.

Friends of Embark is based in Burgess Hill and works closely with ‘Embark’, a company that provides a supported living service for young adults with disabilities, enabling them to live more independently with a care worker on site 24 hours a day.

Friends of Embark was set up last summer and promotes housing opportunities and work experience projects that give young adults with learning difficulties a sense of purpose, self development and a sense of achievement.

The planters that youngsters make are for sale through the Friends of Embark website ( and, so far, more than £400 has been raised but the trustees would like to develop the initiative further.

Chairman of the trustees, Mike Jennings, said: “The woodwork project is giving young adults with learning difficulties the opportunity to integrate with the wider community and our aim is to provide a more formal work experience over two to four days per week, where they can both make the planters and sell them at a market stall.

“We are very keen to support projects to show that our adults can help support themselves and not just rely on benefits and charity alone.”

Mike believes the planter scheme also gives youngsters a sense of the real world where we all have to work in order to benefit ourselves.

The charitable trust has only been running for a short while and is keen to raise its profile in order to reach out to more adults with learning difficulties who often face a difficult future and can feel marginalised and isolated.

At a time of economic uncertainty and cuts in social services, support from the independent and voluntary sector is taking on a new significance and Friends of Embark is helping to fill the provision gap.

The charitable trust has been chosen for the Waitrose Community Matters scheme at Burgess Hill this month. Under the scheme, shoppers can choose one of three charities to support, using green tokens.