Gardening can be therapeutic for disabled persons, but also difficult to undertake: physical manoeuvring can pose problems, and different tools may be required. But being disabled doesn't mean an end to gardening. Adaptable tools exist, and gardening grants for the disabled are available to individuals in the United Kingdom. Those in the United States might have a more difficult time finding funds available to improve accessibility in private gardens.
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United Kingdom Grants
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, mandatory Disabled Funding Grants are available so that disabled persons may make necessary adaptations to their homes. In May 2008, this was extended to include access to and from gardens. In addition, Gardening for Disabled Trust offers a grant program available to trust members (who pay £5 for annual membership or £30 for a 10-year membership). The trust's grant monies are to be used for adapting private gardens, including purchasing specialised tools; constructing raised, readily-accessible gardening and flower beds; paving (to facilitate access for those with wheelchairs, walkers, etc.), and constructing greenhouses.
United States Grants
While the United States has no similar public grant program to assist disabled gardeners, funding may be available through private foundations. For instance, a 4-H chapter in Ames, Iowa, coordinated funding to provide accessible raised-bed gardens for residents of a local group home. An Internet search should yield possible funds that may be available for gardening or ADA accessibility projects. You may have more success with a proposal to a private agency.
A gardening grant or proposal typically will require documentation of the applicant's disability (from a social worker, physician or therapist), a letter or spreadsheet detailing itemised estimated costs of materials and, if applicable, at least two competitive estimates for labour. The granter may also require a completed application, if applicable; check guidelines to be sure.
Using the Grant Funds
Distribution of funds depends upon the granter. The Gardening for Disabled Trust issues checks for its grants, usually to the material or labour supplier(s). Depending upon the granter's requirements, you may be required to file progress reports or otherwise show how the grant monies have been spent. Check with the individual granter to confirm all requirements.
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