Alex Fearne and his family moved to Norwich from Kent nine years ago, and soon came across the fantastic work the Community Sports Foundation do for driving inclusion for disabled people. It didn’t take long for Alex to join the Down Syndrome football team and has continued to be a key player even up to this date.

Life outside of the Foundation saw twenty-four-year-old Alex complete a horticultural course at City College Norwich. Soon after, Alex’s dad, Andrew, saw an advert from The Nest seeking volunteers to help support the groundsmen and thought this was the perfect opportunity for Alex to give back to a venue and organisation who has provided him with so much. The Nest welcomed Alex with open arms and the benefits the work has had for him have been unending.

Alex, Andrew, and Alex’s case worker Melvin work on the garden and vegetable patch at The Nest twice a week, maintaining all its glory no matter what time of year and whatever the weather. Throughout the year, they’ve produced tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, lettuces, and so much more, lots of which has been sent to The Nest café to be used in food prep or for selling to customers.

Earlier this year, Alex, alongside his dad and brother, took on a Superhero triathlon to raise money which will support Alex’s work at The Nest. Between them, they took on an 3km run, 24km cycle, and 500m swim and so far, have raised nearly £700. The money will go towards a greenhouse at The Nest garden, which will enable Alex to grow even more fruit and vegetables and keep the garden looking plentiful all year round.

The hard work, commitment, and dedication from Alex and his companions doesn’t go unnoticed, and recently, the Foundation organised for Norwich City first-team player Ashley Barnes to surprise Alex down at The Nest. Ashley spent time with Alex and Andrew, learning all about the garden, the plants they grow, and how it has supported Alex with independence. Ashley even got his hands dirty and dug up a lettuce or two, which he then took back to the Lotus Training Ground for the chefs to use in their food prep.

The Best of The Nest

There is still plenty to do in The Nest garden, with the vision for a pond and further expansion of the vegetable patch. Plus, the team are working hard to get Alex to a point where he can work in the garden independently, getting the CanaryKonect bus to and from The Nest on his own.

We are so grateful for Alex’s dedication over the years of his involvement with The Nest and the Foundation, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds!