Disabilities are no barrier to this unique team

Derbyshire is home to by far the biggest enterprise of its kind in the UK to give ‘exciting opportunities’ to adults with learning disabilities. Barrie Farnsworth reports.

IT was just over 20 years ago that Derbyshire County Council set up an enterprise specifically to provide adults with learning disabilities with a rewarding role. Bolsover Woodlands Enterprise Ltd was established in November, 2000 to allow them to manage the council’s woodlands across North East Derbyshire. But its role – and the number of people it gives opportunities to – has grown massively over the last two decades. In fact, it has become by far the biggest enterprise of its type in the whole of the UK, with a total of 32 people with learning disabilities, supported by five members of staff, doing everything from felling trees, seasoning green wood on site in Bolsover to making furniture from wood that has been milled by the team. The team now manage and protect woodlands, and green spaces, not just for Derbyshire County Council but for the National Trust, Severn Trent, Cromford Mill, several parish councils and wildlife trusts and for many landowners across north Derbyshire…

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