The Neuromuscular Centre is the Centre of Excellence for people with neuromuscular conditions. Based in Cheshire the charity supports people across the UK and sometimes further afield, providing physiotherapy, training and employment. Below Alison Evans from the centre writes about their involvement in The Big Sunflower Project during 2018.
Sunflower fever swept across the NeuroMuscular Centre (NMC) this summer! We have loved having the bright, showy blooms livening up our grounds (and some of our homes too) but, perhaps more importantly, we have greatly enjoyed working with our friends at The Information Point.
Numerous members of staff took on the challenge to grow sunflowers to help raise awareness for centronuclear myopathy and myotubular myopathy. We took over spaces in the NMC garden, the car park, the meadow, the greenhouse and even our Sales Manager’s bedroom, to cultivate our plants and turn our vista sunshine yellow.
As a centre of excellence for people with neuromuscular conditions, we were eager to help The Information Point raise awareness. Like Toni, we believe in the power of community. Everyone can flourish given the correct support and guidance and we think that the sunflowers are a fabulous metaphor for this.
At the NMC, we offer physiotherapy, support, training and employment to people with muscular dystrophy. We believe that peer to peer support is a key part of everyone’s wellbeing and that raising awareness of all neuromuscular conditions is an important baseline.
NMC Design+Print is a graphic design and printing company at the heart of the NMC; predominantly staffed, and managed by, people with MD. We provide a friendly, professional and creative service with a healthy serving of social value! The profits we make go toward the running costs of the NMC, so by working with us you also support the charity.
Together, we want to inspire young people with disabilities, and to encourage our community to be bold and strive for their dreams. We do this by offering graphic design training, numerous creative workshops, work placements and employment opportunities to people with MD, to help them launch themselves into a career in the creative industry or charity sector.
Partnering with The Information Point has allowed us to pool our audiences across a variety of social media platforms to reach a greater number of people affected by the conditions. It has also helped us to improve our gardening skills, learn more about centronuclear and myotubular myopathies (and as a bonus, we learnt the correct spellings!).
Winter is now drawing in but the project isn’t over yet! Many of us are drying our sunflowers to save the seeds for next year.
The NeuroMuscular Centre again took part in The Big Sunflower Project in 2019, this time using their seeds as part of a seed planting workshop held at the centre. The workshop aimed to encourage staff and service users to plant seeds for growing in the centre’s greenhouse, with the plants either being planted out in the grounds of the centre or sold to raise funds for the centre.
Project sunflower seeds were planted during the workshop as part of a community sunflower growing project over the summer months, with people paying £1 for a sunflower seed and a pot to support the work of the centre.
Entrants were encouraged to share photos of their sunflowers and certificates and were awarded for the tallest sunflower but also the sunflower with the most sunflowers. the first sunflower to bloom and the sunflower that flowered in the face of adversity, having tried to grow around the cycle racks at the front of the building.
In September, the centre’s ‘smallest’ tallest sunflower grower was delighted to receive a certificate, together with a prize of garden tools and a packet of seeds, so she could continue gardening.
To learn more about the work of the Neuromuscular Centre and NMC Design and Print, take a look at the short film below.