Sunnyside Rural Trust is a registered charity that supports young people and adults with learning disabilities by offering training and employment opportunities within a social enterprise setting. We offer a wide range of employment opportunities including growing and selling fresh produce e.g. fruit, vegetables and salads; poultry keeping; PAT testing; gardening design and maintenance; allotment makeovers; warden services; and growing and selling a wide range of plants including Dacorum Borough Council bedding plant contract. We sell our produce and services through our 2 farm shops, local networks, regular markets stalls and local events.

We support over 150 people with learning disabilities every week. The impact we have:

  • For every £1 spent with Sunnyside it saves £9 on statutory funding.
  • In the UK only 5.4% of people with learning disabilities are in any kind of paid employment. Sunnyside has 6 people with learning disabilities in paid employment.
  • We support the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of our trainees by building self esteem and confidence along side skill development.
  • We are absolutely dedicated to providing training, opportunities and work to vulnerable young people and adults.

Our sites:

 Activity Centre – based in Berkhamsted off Ivy House Lane. It offers a purpose built facility where we cook the vegetables and fruits we grow on site. It has 6 acres, comprising gardens, allotments, heritage fruit orchards, coppice and willow plantations. AC offers services to people with learning disabilities and people with dementia.

Hemel Food Garden – based at Two Waters Rd, just off the canal in Hemel Hempstead. This is where we grow DBC’s, Kings Langley and various cemetery bedding plant contracts. On site we have a successful café, bakery, farm shop and garden centre.  We run a repair shed in partnership with Community Action Dacorum (CAD).

Northchurch – based on 6 acres at the bottom of Northchurch allotments, New Road. NC was our first service and to commemorate 30 years in 2020 we have built a new courtyard surrounded by new buildings. We will continue to grow veg across the 6 acre site as well as offer animal therapeutic courses from the new stables (we have rescued

a small number of pigs and sheep), care for 350 chickens and offer excellent training facilities. It has a farm shop on site that sells our produce including eggs, apple juice, jams and chutneys. We run a repair shed in partnership with Community Action Dacorum (CAD).

Orchard Project – Bedmond, which houses our perennial growing structures. Tom Stuart Smith is a prominent garden designer who has commissioned us to grow a number of his high profile designs. We grew the entire stock for his iconic horticultural hero display at RHS Hampton Court 2021.

Sunnyside café @ Active Dacorum Hub – Grovehill Hemel Hempstead.

We operate a café at a busy recreation and sports facility. We supply the meals for a local special need school, a daily menu, barista coffee and selection of meals and cakes.

As well as our sites we offer the Dacorum community:

  • We grow the Bedding plants for Dacorum Borough Council for roundabouts, troughs, hanging baskets and parks.
  • We are the wardens (litter picking, weeding, recreation grounds for a number of parish councils including: Bovingdon, Chipperfield, Berkhamsted, Kings Langley, Northchurch, Great Gaddesden, Albury, Wigginton.
  • Challenge the perception of people with learning disabilities through our business and presence in the community.
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