ARTHUR Sturgeon has become a regular friendly face at the Community Vision Woodvale social centre.
The 18-year-old recently started paid employment for two days a week as a gardener at the centre, which is for anyone over 65, or younger with different abilities or those living with dementia, and is a place for people to make new friends or go on outings.
For several years, Mr Sturgeon has visited Community Vision’s Kingsley youth space at least twice a week.
This space is a social hub for young people with disability where they can meet new people, hang out with friends, take part in workshops and learn new skills.
In his new role, Mr Sturgeon is working a few hours on a Monday and a Tuesday alongside full-time gardener Peter White.
“Arthur did some gardening work for us at the Kingsley youth space during the set-up of our vegetable garden and he thoroughly enjoyed that experience,” Community Vision disability services manager Manuel Dopico said.
“Knowing the Woodvale social centre required some extra ongoing gardening work, we made the link seeing this as a wonderful opportunity for Arthur to break into paid employment.
“Arthur is assisting with watering the gardens, mowing the lawns and general upkeep but his major focus will be to manage a new aquaponics system which will generate herbs and vegetables to be used within the social centre kitchen.”
Mr Sturgeon said he was excited about the job.
“Peter is nice and calming and good to work with,” he said.
“I love cutting the grass with the lawnmower and wearing my green ear muffs.
“I like weeding and watering the garden and I’m really excited about starting to look after the aquaponics.”
Mr Dopico said following the refurbishment of the Kingsley centre, Mr Sturgeon would also have the opportunity to work in the garden there.