Supporting disability employment with Knoxbrooke’s Nursery

The State Trustees Australia Foundation Grassroots Grants program provides up to $10,000 to support the work of eligible charities. Grants aim to promote social inclusion and participation to improve the lives of those disadvantaged by ageing, disability and mental health.

Knoxbrooke’s Yarra View Nursery is a social enterprise retail and wholesale nursery employing over 100 adults with an intellectual disability in Mt Evelyn.

Yarra View Nursery produces over 1.5 million plants per year, which are sold to major retail outlets.
As a not-for-profit community organisation, Knoxbrooke believes in the value that people with a disability can bring to the workforce and the positive flow-on effects to the economy and community. They are committed to assisting people to realise their employment goals.

Knoxbrooke was a successful applicant of the State Trustees Australia Foundation’s Grassroots Grants program in 2017 and $9,800 was granted to support their transition to Open Employment program to help employees explore open employment opportunities. Over 100 staff have benefited from the program.

Each supported employee will have the opportunity to undertake temporary external work experience to broaden their skills and learn more about their options. The program will deliver some real benefits for participants, including:

  • Learning new techniques with new plant varieties that will assist them in both their current work at Yarra View and future employment opportunities.
  • Building social skills, interpersonal skills, initiative diligence and work ethic, increasing their confidence and independence.

The grant also meant that all supported employees could attend an open employment information session and meet with members of the Nursery and Garden Industry of Victoria which included discussions around work experience opportunities. Many participants have now been trained as tour guides and escort official visitors around the site.

The grant has also allowed Knoxbrooke Enterprises to promote the nursery as a work experience option within the feeder schools.