A young man living with autism and a learning disability has landed his dream job at a gardening project after eight months of searching.

Wayne Berry, who lives at a local residential home in Murton, starts his new voluntary job at Greenscape Community Garden in Seaham next week.

The 33-year-old has had a lifelong passion for gardening and is thrilled to finally be able to find an outlet for his green-fingered skills.

He said: “I’m so happy to have this new job. I’ll be helping with the planting in the greenhouses, making bird feeders and digging the garden for vegetables.

“I love anything to do with gardening so I couldn’t be more pleased to be working at Greenscape.”

The new opportunity was spotted by Swanton’s Trinity House Manager Nicola Harrison who immediately contacted the garden project to see if Wayne could get involved.

She said: “We’ve been looking for a long time to find an opportunity that was right for Wayne and his passion for gardening. I’m absolutely thrilled that this has come up trumps for him.

“He is so interested in all things plants and I know that he will be a huge asset to the team at Greenscape. Just because someone has a learning disability doesn’t mean that they don’t have a great deal to contribute to the community.”

Des Consitt, from Greenscape, said he was delighted that Wayne would be joining the team for two days a week.

He said: “This garden exists to serve the whole community and it will be wonderful to welcome Wayne to join us. He’s going to get some great hands-on experience and I’m sure he’ll find it incredibly rewarding and enjoyable. I’ve seen gardening and nature have a profound effect on people and I’m sure Wayne will see that for himself.”

Trinity House, which is operated by Swanton, offers support for seven young adults with learning disabilities, autism and behaviours that challenge.

The team at Trinity House are highly skilled in both autism specific care as well as care management.