Matthew - combining his love of football and gardening

Matthew has been part of our horticulture training programme at the Share Garden for a couple of years. He soon grew confident carrying out garden maintenance and excelled at looking after lawns, cutting grass and edging.

He’s also a lifelong Fulham FC supporter and season ticket holder, along with the rest of his family. He has a further connection with the club, having participated for years in tennis and football sessions run by the Fulham FC Foundation. His mum approached the Foundation’s DisAbility Development Manager about Matthew possibly working with the grounds staff at Fulham FC’s training ground, and happily, they agreed.

Matthew’s mum also contacted DS Workfit, the Down’s Syndrome Association’s employment programme. They worked with the family and with Fulham FC to prepare Matthew for working and understanding work etiquette, and with the grounds staff at Fulham to provide training and advice to support Matthew in the role.

He now works as an assistant grounds person at Fulham’s training ground. Matthew has proved to be a valuable team member, impressing his colleagues with his sense of humour, excellent work ethic and gardening skills.

Matthew’s mum said, ‘His horticultural training from the Share Garden was pivotal to him getting the position...without that he wouldn’t have had a chance. At his interview, they asked about what he could do, like mowing, weeding etc. It was a great advantage that he knew the equipment and how to use it safely.’

His knowledge of gardening has helped give Matthew the confidence to fulfil his dream role. He said, ‘My favourite job is helping mow the pitches, I would like to do the white lines one day. I like the tearoom when the other guys are there at lunchtime – we laugh a lot. I really enjoy working at Motspur Park Training Ground, I like seeing the players training. I also occasionally work at Craven Cottage. All the groundsmen are so friendly, I like working with them.’

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