We run courses throughout the year at Thrive and in other parts of the country. These are aimed at people already working in the field of disability or gardening, and we have taster days for the novice.
When Lynne Plowright was made redundant in 2010 she decided to use her love of gardening and knowledge of working with young adults who have learning disabilities to investigate the benefits of horticulture therapy.
Lynne was one of more than 100 people who came on one of Thrive’s taster days in 2010 and hasn’t looked back.
"Being made redundant from a job you love is hard,
" said Lynne.
"So I looked at what I enjoyed and my skills acquired throughout my working life and that led me to Thrive.
Lynne was a victim of local authority cuts and was made redundant from her local Sixth Form college where she worked with young adults with learning disabilities.
She has an RHS Level 2 qualification, so is more than just an amateur gardener, and is now looking forward to using her newly found skills in horticulture therapy in the workplace.
"I had very little knowledge of horticulture therapy," said Lynne. "I used gardening as a teaching aid in the past, planting a bean and watching it grow, taking care of it and then reaping the rewards.
"Now I feel I know a lot more about HT and how it can help all kinds of people
Lynne was particularly taken with the practical task on the taster day where she helped a visually impaired person pot up.
"That task was very interesting and I was able to be the therapist and the gardener who had sight loss
"Wearing glasses that obscure your view really made me think a lot more about how the visually impaired person would react
"You have to make sure to talk to the client and make sure they are happy if you touch them to move their hand
Lynne now works on bank staff for the charity SeeAbility.
Former teacher and Royal Naval sailor Pete Scott from Sidmouth in Devon wants to take his love of working outdoors and helping people to another level.
Fifty-two-year-old Pete came on Thrive’s Introduction to Social and Therapeutic Horticulture workshops and our Using Social and Therapeutic Horticulture with children with special educational needs.
Pete comes from a horticulture background and already works in the field at Bicton College in Devon. He is keen to use his new skills to set up a programme at the college working with young people who have learning difficulties.
"Attending the training courses at Thrive have been great and added another dimension to my teaching," said Pete, who is also embarking on his RHS Level Two Training.
"I wanted to be able to offer more than teaching gardening and the training at Thrive has certainly helped me to that
From a career in the RAF to working in gardening therapy. You can’t get much more diverse than that. But this change of direction is just what Emma Collier from Peterborough is hoping to do in 2011 when she embarks on a major career change.
Emma will have spent 16 years in the RAF when she returns to civvy street and needs to find a job when she leaves her life in the forces.
She came across Thrive after hearing Monty Don speak about our work. She had never heard of horticultural therapy before, but a good look at the Thrive website, and she was hooked!
"I only really discovered gardening five years ago when I bought a house with a garden," said Emma.
"My mum encouraged me to look after it and I soon discovered how much I loved gardening."
Emma attended Thrive’s Step into Social and Therapeutic Horticulture therapy workshop and the two day Using Social and Therapeutic Horticulture to benefit people with mental health needs.
"The training days at Thrive have been so useful. Everyone is very friendly and really helpful. I feel I’ve already got a greater understanding of the field of STH that I hope to work in after leaving the RAF."
Emma is already putting her new skills to good use and is looking to volunteer at Peterborough Prison. Eventually she'd like to work use social and therapeutic horticulture to work with the Forces charities.
Need more information on Thrive's training courses, click here