The Mulberry Project

Let us introduce you to THE MULBERRY PROJECT! An exciting development from West Berkshire Mencap. The project overall will see West Berkshire Mencap services revitalised and offering inspired new opportunities for adults and children.

Phase 1

It all started with relocating and modernising the Growing4All project on a safer, accessible site at the West Berkshire Mencap Centre, creating a vibrant and inclusive facility for all to enjoy.

The move from the current outdated and isolated site was crucial but our plans were also ambitious, to include a children’s area, pottery facility, upgraded workshops for woodwork, hanging baskets, garden furniture, Christmas decorations and more.

We are delighted to say, through the many donations received so far and the support of Verogen Construction, November will see our team move from the outdated remote site to the new site adjacent to the Mencap Centre.

Work will continue the completion of the pottery and woodwork workshops, changing facilities rest rooms and canteen area. We are planning for the site to be fully operational at the start of 2023.

Two very large brand new poly tunnels, raised flower beds, gardening area and walkways are in place for our team to start working on the new site.

Structures for the woodworking, pottery, changing and rest rooms, are in place along with safe storage container which form the heart of the expansion for the project.

It is our vision for Local families without a garden of their own, to visit and enjoy gardening time with their children. Learning from our West Berkshire Mencap in-house expertise; bringing the community closer together.

Access for the public to visit and purchase our wonderful creations will now be safe and easy. Vergoen has completed new car parking and access gateways.  When fully operational our team will produce spring baskets, summer plants and Christmas decorations along with woodwork and pottery items to sell at competitive prices!!

This project will cost £100,000 (details further down the page) on top of the pro bono support we have received from our construction partner, Verogen Construction.  West Berkshire Mencap continue to fundraise; we are seeking help from local corporates, trusts and foundations but we desperately need the help from hundreds of local supporters!

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Below is a plan of how the site will look.

The Mulberry Project - final plan!

Below are photos of the work as it has taken place.

Our thanks go to everyone who has donated so far, and a special thanks to Verogen Construction who are providing so much support free of charge to make sure this project reaches completion.  

The site photos below show you how much progress has been made – step by step.  Every donation no matter how big or small has moved us closer to the new Mulberry Project Horticultural facility.

Take on a challenge to raise funds for the tools, plants and seeds we will need – our fundraisers will help with ideas and resources. Also create your own fundraising page or event and link it to The Mulberry Project.

As this dream becomes a reality we will keep updating this page. We are also delighted to say that work will soon commence on phase 2 of the Mulberry Project – the re-vamp of the entire children’s play area! More details coming soon! Watch this space.

Your help will bring this project to life! Click any of the buttons below to donate now. Thank you!

THANK YOU from The Mulberry Project!

Our list below shows you our fundraising to date.

  • General Donation towards essential works costing £70,000 (Thank you Verogen for the essential buildings and more.)
  • Woodwork Cabin 1 @ £10,000 (double matched funded by Greenham Trust)
  • Tool Store 1 @ £4,000 (Thank you The Percy Bilton Trust)
  • Polly Tunnel 2 @ £2,000 each and secure storage facility (thank you to The D Oyly Carte Trust)
  • Potting Shed 1 @ £700 (thank you Gardening for Disabled)
  • Pottery Start-up (thank you Oliver Ford)
  • Wheelbarrows and garden carts 4 @ £30 each (Thank you MAXX)
  • Railway sleepers for raised beds 54 @ £30 each (The Oliver Ford Foundation)
  • Shovels and Trowels 10 @ £10 (Thank you Opus Acc Ltd)
  • Young plants multiple @ £6 per tray (thank you for £1000 from the Cumber Family Trust)
  • Seed Trays, Seeds and bulbs multiple @ £5 a pack (thank you for the starter packs the Oliver Ford Foundation)
  • Hanging basket kits multiple @ £4 (thank you Ammco Trust)
  • Thank you to The Greenham Trust for funds raised on the Good Exchange totalling £16,000.

We would also be delighted to receive any of the items on our ‘shopping list’ as a gift – any garden suppliers that would like to donate goods please give us a call on 01635 41464 or email us at info@wbmencap.org.

If you would like to be kept up to date with progress about The Mulberry Project please call us on 01635 41464 or email us at info@wbmencap.org. Or you can sign up to the mailing list below to be kept up to date with ALL the West Berkshire Mencap updates.

A thank you

Everyone at West Berkshire Mencap is absolutely thrilled by the success of Double Matched Day. To have raised so much, so quickly by our friends and supporters and to then have had it Double Matched by the Greenham Trust is wonderful news. The clients at our Garden project are so excited about the new facilities we are building and are really looking forward to their new Woodwork workshop. Thank you so much!

We are delighted to announce Verogen Ltd. Has become the first corporate partner of the Mulberry Project.  All of us a West Berkshire Mencap look forward to working with Gillian Martin MD and her team to make our dream a reality.

The Mulberry Project – full steam ahead!

Great News!!! This week sees the start of the below groundworks – the first step in making this dream a reality.  Our thanks go to Verogen construction and their colleagues who are giving time to get this project off the ground. We are very excited to see work start in a significant way and will bring you progress updates. 

We still need to raise funds to purchase some of the above-ground structures such as the woodwork cabin, pottery kiln and raised flower beds.  Help us reach our goal of a completed project by the Autumn 2021!!!

Phase 2

Phase two is a complete re-vamp and update of the children’s play area.

Although functional, our current play area is tired and dated. We have 117 children registered accessing our services who use the play area. It currently doesn’t afford our children the fun and adventure experienced by others; So we plan to build an area that will both fire imagination and bring new experiences.

It will include a large Hobbit House!, a new sensory garden, covered walk-ways with raised flower beds and a wheelchair accessible mud kitchen.

The raised flowers beds will provide gardening opportunities in all weathers, they will be sited along the new walk-ways which will be covered to provide shelter from the rain.

An accessible mud kitchen will ensure our children can enjoy ‘cooking’ some very messy mud pies, possibly for the first time!

A beautiful Hobbit House (Hobbit Hotel) will be sited in the garden. Providing a place to play hide and seek, spend quite time, even overnight stays for two children and their carers to enjoy a ‘camp out’ experience!

Older children may like time alone to rest or read or just enjoy the magic of being in a Hobbit House.

They will be positioned to allow children time alone safely; but are robust enough to cope with several at once who may imagine themselves Frodo and Samwise or a visiting elf!

We are delighted to say many items of play have already had a fresh new look thanks to our very helpful volunteers from Vodaphone! 

Once this project is complete not only with the children registered with us use the facility, but we will be able to offer open play sessions to parents to bring along siblings and enjoy play time together.

We are currently raising funds for the Hobbit House, covered walk-ways and raised flower beds, can you help?

We are hoping to purchase an accessible Hobbit House, large enough to convert to a ‘hotel’ at a cost of circa £20,000.

Our accessible mud kitchen could be built for as little as £1,000! What a lot of messy fun!

We need a further £9,500 to create the covered walk-ways and raised flower beds – planting and growing fun all year round.

The new sensory garden, providing brightly coloured, fragrant flowers and a range of plants to touch smooth, rough and a little fury leaves, stems and petals will stimulate the senses and imagination at a cost of £1,500.

The cost of moving and re-refreshing existing equipment will be circa £10,000.

If you can help with a donation towards any of the above we would be so grateful; every donated is valued.

We would like to say a huge thank you to the following people for their generous donations:

  • The Shanly Foundation   £2,500
  • Ammco Trust                          500
  • Geoff and Fiona Squire Fd. £5,000
  • Peter Harris Fd. £3,500
  • Rowan Bentall Charitable Trust  £250
  • The Good Exchange (Greenham Trust Matched Funding) 17,000

Help us raise enough money to make the children’s garden a dream come true!

See below for up to date videos and images of the progress!

The work has started!