Had a great time today when I visited Swalecliffe and Cow Lane Day Centres in Swalecliffe and Canterbury respectively. Accompanying me were George Koowaree, Liberal Democract County Councillor for Ashford, and Maureen Newell, Labour County Councillor for Gravesham East. At Swalecliffe, we heard how the learning disabled service users tended their garden, grew fresh produce then sold it locally. They even made jams and chutneys. Needless to say, we all ended up buying several jars of goodies, then headed over to Cow Lane Day Centre, where we enjoyed lunch with a large group of service users - again learning disabled - who took part in a wide range of activities. As well as producing a large range of delicious cakes and pastries for the centre's own catering, they also run a stall in a Farmers' Market in Canterbury, giving them experience of dealing with both people, produce and money.
We saw a huge range of craft, from amazing wall clocks made from collection of clay leaves, to pottery house numbers. We were shown a wide range of furniture which users were refurbishing, from chairs to cupboards to tables - all sold to raise money for the centre. And we were treated to a rehearsal of the Christmas production - "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat".
A marvellous group of people with a hugely dedicated staff, and a testament to just what people can achieve if they aren't given boundaries.