Tutors from the North East Autism Society are delighted to announce the launch of a new venture taking their expertise out of the classroom and into the community.

While the aim is to eventually have a wide variety of courses on offer, the new ‘Community Learning Programmes’, which will be delivered from our award winning New Warlands Farm near Durham, or the impressive North East Centre for Autism, in Newton Aycliffe, will begin with Practical Gardening.

Director of Education, Christine Dempster, said:

This is a new development for NEAS, and we will soon be offering a wide variety of courses to suit all tastes and interests. The great thing is that these courses are not only open to everyone – members of the public, adults with learning difficulties alike – but we are also really excited to be able to offer courses with or without accreditation.

Practical Gardening – a 10-week programme of practical tuition aimed at amateur gardeners wishing to develop basic horticultural skills - includes a series of seasonal topics including plant propagation, container gardening, greenhouse gardening, fruit and vegetable growing.
Non-accredited, this Community Learning course offers opportunities for adults of different ages and backgrounds, including those with learning disabilities to:

  • Participate in various courses
  • Pursue an interest
  • Address a need to gain new skills
  • Become healthier

Christine added:

Learning helps promote cultural enrichment, stimulation and enjoyment. The accredited courses will also lead to a formal qualification.

The Amateur Gardening Evening Class is one such accredited course.

R H S Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture is a level 2 course also aimed at amateur gardeners but would be an ideal first qualification for a career in horticulture.

NEAS Community Learning Programmes

Course information:

Accredited: Amateur Gardening Evening Class

Date and Time
Start Date: Tuesday 13th September 2016
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm.

North East Autism Society, North East Centre for Autism, Thornbeck College, Cedar Drive, Newton Aycliffe, DL5 6UN.

Length of Course
September - July split into two semesters (36 evening sessions equating to 72 hours over the course duration).

Tuition £450 Exam fees £28
Registration fee £10 (all fees subject to revision)

Course Tutor: Mike Hirst


There is flexible payment options available for this course. 

If you are interested in attending please contact Katrina Peco on 01325 328 088 or by e-mail [email protected]

Non Accredited: Practical Gardening

Date and Time
Start Date: Wednesday 14th September 2016
Time: 1.30 - 3.30 pm.

North East Autism Society, New Warlands Farm, Holmside, Edmondsley, Durham, DH7 6EX

Price: £160

Course Tutor: Mike Hirst


If you are interested in attending this course please contact us on 0191 371 3010 or by e-mail [email protected]