Gardening Tip

Keep an eye on fruit and remove any with brown rot to prevent it spreading.


    The Flower Mill is run by Sunderland Home Care Associates. Form information can be found at

    The Flower Mill is the latest ground breaking and innovative project coming out of Sunderland Home Care Associates Ltd.
    Why would an award winning employee owned social enterprise want to engage in such a diverse activity, so different from the caring range of services we would normally provide? Good question.

    We run a cafe in Herrington Country Park, Cafe on the Park. The cafe is set in wonderful countryside with a large play area at the side. In partnership with  Sunderland City Council we give adults with learning disabilities  the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and gain skills – they do get paid, but not so that it affects any benefit entitlement. They also become members of our company which in turn means they will get an actual share in the company.

    Similarly, the Flower Mill has students from Sunderland Colleges and some of our own Independent Futures service users who also get the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and acquire new skills in horticulture. The place is a hive of activity and our workers (students and service users included) enjoy growing, nurturing plants and working with the public.

    Our dream, almost a reality now, is to get a piece of land on Thompson Park which is almost derelict and unusable at the moment. We want to grow organic veg and herbs there. It will take a lot of hard work but our willing workers are raring to go. We will work with the local community to make this come alive. Some of the veg can be sold in the Flower Mill but most will go to Cafe on the Park so that tasty, nutritious and value for money meals can be purchased by the pubic.

    What’s grown in the community is eaten in the community.

    We see this as a virtuous circle, enabling people with learning disabilities gain skills, confidence and experience in a real work place setting. That’s why we have a garden centre!

    Our Team - Martin, the Manager, Bill, Supervisor and Terry, centre worker, are on hand to help. Martin will dispense advice and answer all your gardening questions in any area where garden expertise is required.