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Thanks to the donation, Vincent, a wheelchair user, can work in the same place as his colleagues

Thanks to the donation, Vincent, a wheelchair user, can work in the same place as his colleagues

Since March last year, Vincent Peters (24) from Meise has been employed at the Sheltered Workshop and the organic farm Den Diepen Boomgaard. He works with him in management, where he handles accounting.

“When work started, the elevator had not been built here yet,” says Sarah Heffert, general manager of Den Diepen Boomgaard. “The store’s stock bin was made accessible via a ramp and Vincent was given a permanent place in our ‘stock.’ Thanks to a €25,000 support from the National Lottery, we were able to build a lift and our building – the farm’s former barn – is now wheelchair accessible.

An unforgettable moment

“It is truly an unforgettable moment for us. The elevator was put into service and Vincent was able to join his colleagues from management on the first floor. We are happy that as an organization we can also employ someone who has a physical disability and can be in the place he deserves more than ever.

“I have had a physical disability since birth, which became evident when I learned to walk at the age of one and a half,” says Vincent. “This is not possible, so I have to depend on a wheelchair. I am very happy that I can start here as a tax accountant in Den Diepen Boomgaard.

“I was working downstairs and couldn't go upstairs, where my colleagues from management worked. I sat with the farm shop workers, who were also great colleagues. But it was easier and more practical for us to be able to work in the same room during our shift. This became “It's now possible thanks to the National Lottery, which has invested in the lift here. I'm really very happy.”

Vincent was, in his words, also a “guinea pig.” “Using a wheelchair, I was able to check everywhere here whether all areas were wheelchair accessible,” says Vincent. “A hill, a difficult trail, hard-to-reach places: I can point it all out to them. It's really nice to be able to do that, so that everything here is accessible to everyone.

The orchard's wheelchair track allows people in wheelchairs, walkers as well as families with a stroller to enjoy the green spaces of Den Diepen Boomgaard. Yes

“With the renovations and new construction here, as a specialist company, we are paying great attention to the accessibility of our buildings and the entire site,” adds director Sarah Heffert. “Not only for people who use a wheelchair, but also for strollers and people who use a walker. We would also like to welcome our neighbors from the nearby residential care center and the Eigen Thuis Centre, the integration center for people with disabilities.

“That's why we want to make everything accessible to everyone here. We've also created a wheelchair track in our orchard. This way, anyone from the neighborhood can also enjoy a little green space here. In the long term, we will also rent out our spaces in the barn and farmhouse that It has been renovated for the associations. Then we also want everything to be wheelchair accessible.