Digging it for the Disabilities Trust

21st June 2018 Clinical Negligence

Gardening. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Others, like the service users at the Disabilities Trust in Leeds, would like to be able to do it but due to their physical and/or cognitive limitations can't. Unfortunately Alan Titchmarsh wasn't available to help, but Hannah Currie, Jodie Miller and I were more than happy to fill his shoes.

By way of background, the Disabilities Trust is based at Osman House in Leeds. The Trust provides support and residential care for people with acquired brain injuries, with the aim of rehabilitating service users and helping them back into their own home. Osman House recently underwent a large scale renovation, where the number of beds increased from nine to 16. Each residential room has its own ensuite. There are also communal facilities and a therapy kitchen, where service users are encouraged to make their own meals.

The back garden has been recently landscaped and is currently being converted into a sensory garden. The front of Osman House was, however, in need of some TLC. With two new service users joining Osman House in the coming weeks, the staff were keen to make the new arrivals' first experience a welcoming one. Living with an acquired brain injury means that simple experiences can become incredibly stressful. With the help of Shaun, Osman House's in-house maintenance team, we set to work albeit in damp and windy conditions.

The borders either side of the main entrance were incredibly overgrown, with plants planted in a random and inconvenient fashion. We set about weeding, digging up and re-planting the borders. The taller plants were positioned at the back, and lavender bushes to the left, leaving plenty of room at the front for some smaller new ones and making it generally easier to maintain. The border down the middle of the carpark adjoining the public pavement was stripped of thistles, goose grass and ivy. We also cut back the grass verge, usually maintained by the local council, revealing Canadale Gold evergreen bushes. Whilst the tasks took us all day, the fruits of our labour earned us praise from the residents, which made the job worthwhile. Everyone should feel happy and proud of their home.

As part of our day, we were also given a guided tour of Osman House and had the opportunity to meet some of its service users, who range from approximately age 20 to age 70. We all know that there are charities out there who do brilliant work, but sometimes it takes spending a day with them to really gage how much of an important role they play. The Disabilities Trust plays a truly life changing role for people with acquired brain injuries which cannot be understated.

To help The Disabilities Trust continue their good work and achieve their aim of rehabilitation, myself and a number of fellow intrepid explorers will also be taking on the Yorkshire Three Peaks on Friday 22 June 2018 to raise money. If you would like to donate, you can do so via the link here:

Hannah, Jodie and I would like to extend our thanks to the staff at Osman House who made our day comfortable and enjoyable. Special thanks go to Shaun for keeping us fed and watered and helping with the more challenging aspects, and to Steven (one of the service users) who came out to help us in the last hour. Without their help there would still be work to do. We hope that the new arrivals enjoy their time at Osman House as much as we enjoyed our day!

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Lucy Mellor is a Solicitor located in Manchesterin our Clinical Negligence department

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