Celebrating Neurodiversity Week with our Roots Members

In recognition of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, Lynne Bowden (Project Officer at SIG-Penrose Roots) shares her experience working with two of our neurodiverse members at the garden and supporting them on their journey. 

Matthew was the first member I ever worked with when I started volunteering for Penrose Roots in 2021. We both remember that we planted radish seeds together! Matthew started at Roots in 2018 and was introduced to Roots through his support worker. At the time, Matthew was living with his parents but a place in supported living became available for him in 2021– it took just over a year of day visits and weekend stays before Matthew moved in permanently where he now lives happily. This was a huge achievement for him and I mention this because I have learned that with Matthew he likes to take his time to feel comfortable in a situation. He hates loud noises and spiders – two things I help him avoid at the garden! He is friendly with everyone but isn’t great at remembering names, he copes by calling everyone ‘Buddy’. He loves finding the funny and quirky in a situation, especially naming everything he makes or harvests! Matthew attends Roots once a week and we are part of his weekly routine of activities.

Finlay joined Roots in November 2023. At just 19, he is one of our younger members. From the start we knew that Finlay was already studying horticulture at a local college and he wanted to enhance his experience by joining Roots. He attends Roots weekly and also comes to the garden whenever college is closed. Finlay is always keen to join in any activity, he is just as enthusiastic about gardening tasks as he is crafts. I have learned that he is very particular about things, likes direct instructions and is willing to try anything new. He has a great sense of humour and can hold his own on pretty much any topic! Finlay is now using his time at Roots as work experience for his college course. We are proud to support him on his horticultural journey.