STAFF at Berkshire's nuclear weapons factory are continuing their support for charity partner Thrive over the coming year.

The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) based in Aldermaston has supported Thrive over the last two years through a mixture of fundraising and donations with £48,000 being raised for the charity.

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Thrive uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.

Several AWE teams have also volunteered their time over the last two years, helping with outdoor jobs such as digging, weeding, strimming and clearing the ponds in Thrive’s gardens.

Thrive’s trained horticultural therapists work with clients so they can enjoy the health benefits that gardening, horticulture and spending time with nature can bring.

The charity works with a wide range of people who have a physical or learning disability, mental health support needs, sensory loss or autism and age-related conditions – and young people who have social, emotional or behavioural difficulties.

Michele Maidment, AWE’s Charity Fund Secretary, said: “We’re really pleased to support Thrive for a further year.

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"Our staff have all really got behind Thrive and the great work it does in promoting the mental and physical health benefits of gardening.”

Kathryn Rossiter, Thrive CEO, added: “Being AWE's charity partner for another year is wonderful news for Thrive because this level of financial support makes a big difference to our work with clients with a wide range of disabilities and long-term health conditions.”

“We'd like to thank AWE staff for their generosity which has helped us with several much-needed projects in our gardens, such as replacing steps and handrails and re-laying paving to enable better access for all clients.

"We will also be able to provide improved ramp access to a building used by children with multiple and complex needs who attend our Pots & Petals group, many of whom use very heavy and large wheelchairs."

Thrive’s funds were also boosted by a further £1,020 raised through the 'Pledge to Plant’ campaign run by AWE graduates.

Further donations will also come via the Boundary Players, the local drama group who perform at the William Penney Theatre, which has chosen to support Thrive through programme sales.