Marisa Piper working with students at Priors Court


Newbury College Foundation Learning students have been digging into their work experience at Prior’s Court, a well-known autism charity based in Hermitage, as they help regenerate some valuable green spaces.

Over recent months, the students have become a familiar sight at Prior’s Court, rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty to clear large planters and pave the way for a flourishing vegetable garden.

This project has been important as it allows Prior’s Court to teach its young people, all of whom have complex autism and the majority reside at the charity, vocational skills such as properly caring for crops, watering them, and harvesting them. These are all skills they can take into later life.

Likewise, the hands-on experience has sown seeds of knowledge among the college students about the lifecycle of plants, the process of creating a thriving garden, and the joy of seeing their efforts bear fruit.

Newbury College Career Coach, Marisa Piper, said: “I am so grateful to Wendy Moffatt and the wider Prior’s Court team for giving our students this opportunity. Through this project, the students have demonstrated hard work, and perseverance, and learned to work as part of a team. Alongside the practical skills, I've seen a growth in their self-esteem and communication skills."

Echoing Marisa's sentiments, Wendy Moffatt, the Land-based Learning Specialist at Prior’s Court, added: "I would like to say how rewarding it has been working alongside the students from Newbury College. The students worked incredibly hard, getting properly stuck into the project and even successfully removing two stubborn tree trunks from the area. It has been fantastic working with these students, and it has been great to see their enthusiasm and resilience. It has been a great collaboration, and I look forward to it continuing"

This partnership between Newbury College and Prior's Court is a testimony to the power of community engagement and our purpose of “creating opportunities to transform lives”.