The first group of students to complete a horticulture course at a Swaffham community project have received their certificates as efforts continue to secure its future.
Almost £3,000 has been raised for the Escape project, based at the town’s community orchard, through its own fundraising efforts and the support of local charity groups.
And, with a new course beginning later this month, officials say further support would be welcomed.
Eighteen participants received level one certificates in horticulture for their work with the project at the community centre on Tuesday.
The group, many of whom live with mental health problems or learning disabilities, is the first to complete the qualification since the project registered as a training provider with the National Open College Network last year.
Karen Bek, of the charity Family Action, which runs the course and the project, said: “We are so proud of all our students.
“Not only have they achieved this qualification, but they also make invaluable contributions to the projects through their work maintaining the allotment and generating more plants.
“We have seen so much progress with our students through this course, not only horticulturally, but with their confidence and wellbeing.
“One of our first students has made so much progress in terms of managing his anxiety that he was able to support my teaching on the second course acting as teaching assistant for the full 12 weeks.”
The ceremony came after almost £3,000 was raised for the project through a Crowdfunder appeal and the proceeds of the Swaffham Lions’ annual world quiz last month.
Places are still available on the next course, which will begin on February 24. To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org