A GARDEN centre which offers work placements to adults with learning disabilities has been given a major cash boost.

Heaton Fold Garden Centre will get an investment of £100,000 to further develop the site.

The money will be used to buy a new building and refurbish the café area and gift shop.

This will increase the income stream of the council-owned garden centre, according to a report by director of place Gerry Brough.

Adults with learning disabilities who are referred to the centre through adult services undertake a range of work-related tasks and activities at the centre.

The café was refurbished in 2014 when three sisters, Jo Burrage, Margaret Porritt and Janet Maguire – who run 3 Quirky Birdz Catering – took over.

Under the new plan, the existing marquee will be moved to a new location on site to allow for a new modular building.

The hard standing area would be used to provide a dedicated kitchen and café.

The transfer of the kitchen and café from its existing location into a new building would free up space to expand the gift shop into the area vacated by the current kitchen and café.

It is hoped that the proposed relocation of the kitchen and café will allow the garden centre to develop the customer offer in relation to the café and gift shop in order to grow the income stream in future years relating to both those areas.

The capital investment was approved by the executive cabinet member for environmental services, Cllr Nick Peel, at a private meeting on December 3.

According to minutes from the private meeting: "The estimated level of financial investment necessary to improve the café and gift shop offer was £100,000.

"It was proposed that departmental reserves were utilised with an anticipated 50 per cent of this figure to be recovered from improved income levels over the next five years."

The decision was welcomed by councillors from all parties when discussed at a scrutiny committee meeting earlier this month.