Green Routes is a registered Scottish charity, registration No SC039334, based in Gartmore, near Aberfoyle, Stirling.
Our objectives are:
- The advancement of education and training for people with additional support needs and others disadvantaged in the labour market
- The development of employment opportunities for people with additional support needs and others disadvantaged in the labour market
- The advancement of sustainable development
We aim to be recognised as a leading education centre in Central Scotland in developing people with additional support needs or from backgrounds which disadvantage them in terms of employment, to enable them to realise their full potential and, where they have the capacity, to progress towards employability and independent living. We aim to be a preferred supplier for students, parents, carers, purchasers.
A small dedicated team of staff and a group of eager volunteers work closely with our students in the Walled Garden of Gartmore House to provide caring and supportive education and training for young adults with additional support needs, focusing on training in horticulture, gardening, landscaping, animal husbandry and related activities.
We aim to help our students to develop the social skills and self-confidence to become independent, and to develop employment skills for those who would otherwise find it difficult to enter employment, improving their self-confidence and social skills.
We are well integrated into the area in which we are based and benefit greatly from local goodwill. We believe we demonstrate the contribution that people with learning disabilities can make to their communities. We are valued by local citizens, local authorities, clients, partners and similar organisations.
The Green Routes training garden is designed to meet the needs of students and provide them with a range of opportunities, including related woodwork, animal husbandry and bee-keeping. We maintain a very good working relationship with local businesses and are able to utilise some of their facilities. As part of our programme, students can benefit from supervised placements with local businesses, leading in time to employment opportunities in the community.
We will continue to deliver tangible outcomes of benefit to students and related to their individual needs – communication skills, independence, self-esteem, and employability skills. Students will continue to influence our strategy and they will be engaged in the ‘enterprise’ through their work and contribution in the garden.
We do not expect to offer an open-ended commitment to support students forever. Although we may continue to offer a limited number of longer term placements, we are not intended to be a ‘respite organisation’. However, our long-term strategy is to develop a further employability resource for students who have progressed to the limits of their programme, but who are not yet ready to enter employment. We anticipate that this will involve operating from more from more than one location as our employability strategy develops.
We aim to be financially sustainable, and to have service level agreements with more than one local authority for both individual students and school groups, and income from private financial arrangements. The bulk of our finance comes through agreements and contracts with our clients. We will be able to employ permanent and sessional staff from our own financial resources.
Through our ’employability’ strategy, we will continue to offer ‘outreach opportunities’ that students would not have otherwise, through placings with local businesses, including West Moss-Side Organic Farm; Aberfoyle Co-op; and Waitrose, Stirling. We also aim to establish ‘Green Routes 2’, to provide an opportunity for those who are capable to progress from the training activities of Green Routes to work productively in a social enterprise, and to also help to move students outside their ‘comfort zones’.
Our team of volunteers and students working together have brought a disused and neglected walled garden back to life, and we offer a range of volunteering opportunities in a supportive environment.
Volunteers are offered training to act as mentors and role models for individuals and groups of students, while others help in the running of the Green Routes Project as members of its Board of Management.
We encourage people who are interested in volunteering or who would like more information to get in touch, or simply to visit the garden to learn more about our activities.