Italian Restaurant Edendum, based in East Street Brighton, and Special Educational Needs provider St. John’s School and College have teamed up to support social enterprise.

The partnership, which began at the start of November, involves pupils with complex learning disabilities and special needs growing and picking flowers and herbs for Edendum’s table displays.

The pupils ranging from ages 18-25 are part of St. John’s horticultural work based learning enterprise, Flourish. The programme develops skills around gardening and commerce with pupils being responsible for maintaining local outdoor spaces and the cultivation, care and preparation of plants so they are ready for sale in the community.

Members of the Flourish team will:

  • Plant and maintain a variety of flowers, shrubs, herbs, fruits and vegetables
  • Make sure St. John’s grounds are clean and tidy
  • Gain a knowledge of horticulture
  • Pot plants and label them ready for sale or delivery
  • Prepare herbs and plants for use in a variety of products

Once they have graduated pupils will leave the programme with accredited qualifications and/or skills vital for work experience, volunteering opportunities and paid employment.

Although Flourish regularly hosts pop up shops around Brighton and pitches at The Open Market on London Road, teaming up with Edendum is the first time they have been able to produce and sell such large quantities of flowers and herbs every week. They are hoping to roll the programme out to more businesses across Sussex as the success of the enterprise grows.

Lorenza Canepa, Managing Director of Edendum, said, “It’s a real honour to be able to help a small local charity like St. John’s. They do such great work for young people with disabilities and the pupils always produce stunning table displays…our customers are always impressed and it really adds to the restaurants ambience.”

Lucy Howells, Enterprise Manager at St. John’s, said, “This is a great opportunity for our learners who have a genuine passion for the outdoors and will help them get a real understanding of the working world. Pupils are involved every step of the way and the service is much cheaper for businesses to come us. We are so pleased to be working with Edendum.”

The St. John’s and Edendum partnership hopes to develop in 2017 when the restaurant plans to donate a portion of the profits from one of their signature dishes to St. John’s to help purchase vital disability equipment.