Working with vulnerable school aged children

Thrive runs programmes for vulnerable children and children with special needs from several schools in Berkshire and North Hampshire.

Increased Flexibility Programme (IFP) 
This programme enabled school aged children to take vocational qualifications at Key Stage 4.

We ran programmes leading to NVQ L1 in Horticulture at the Thrive Trunkwell Garden Project garden from 2004 – 2007. As well as gaining horticultural skills, the children enjoyed working in the garden, liked having their own area of responsibility, meeting new people and the balance of practical and classroom sessions. Most achieved the qualification and many later went to further education college.

A survey of IFP providers’ revealed that experiences of delivery of NVQ Level 1 Horticulture with 14-16 year old children varied considerably, but currently there is no forum for exchanging view and best practice.

Berkshire Adolescent Unit
This exciting pilot project is run in partnership with the Berkshire Adolescent Unit at Wokingham Community Hospital. It started in the autumn of 2006 with the aim of creating three unique garden areas in the hospital grounds.

Thrive designed a tailored horticultural programme for groups of up to eight young people with mental illnesses who attend the hospital either as day patients or as inpatients. The sessions run for one afternoon each week and we record evidence of the participants’ engagement and interest in the gardening activities, their social interaction and other ‘non-productive’ behaviours.