Life Changers pgm 1
Life Changers is a programme for those living with life-changing health conditions to experience the joy of gardening in Thrive's Kings Heath Park gardens in Birmingham.

Life Changers is a programme for those living with life-changing health conditions or injuries, enabling them to experience the joy of gardening at Thrive in Kings Heath Park, Birmingham.

The aims of the Life Changers programme are to:

  • Improve energy and reduce depression and anxiety
  • Increase peer-to-peer support within the group
  • Increase confidence and reduce social isolation
  • Promote wellbeing and the health benefits of gardening
  • Give people the skills and knowledge to continue gardening after the programme has finished
  • Provide the participants with the skills and enthusiasm to continue gardening once they have finished their programme

Would you or someone you know be interested in taking part?

Contact our team on 0121 293 4531 or fill in the form to find out more

Find out more
  • A horticultural practitioner, supported by volunteers, works in the Thrive garden with a small group of up to eight participants one day per week for 16 weeks. More people also benefit indirectly from the programme, such as family members and carers.
  • Alongside each individual, the horticultural practitioner builds a set of gardening activities for each client gardener to improve their general health and wellbeing, and to work towards particular goals identified by the gardener, such as increasing stamina, mobility and balance, improving fine motor skills, increasing memory and information retention or strengthening muscles.
Life changes FAH
A life changers participant gardening
  • A key element of all Thrive programmes is social inclusion; we design tasks and activities to encourage co-operation, interaction and socialisation. Each week has a seasonally appropriate gardening focus with typical activities including seed sowing, planting bulbs, pruning, weeding, making hanging baskets, planting salads and herbs to encourage healthy eating, and some craft activities, such as making Christmas wreaths.
  • The garden and tasks are adapted for ease of use, such as creating raised beds of multiple heights to ensure that gardening tasks can be done seated, in a wheelchair or standing. There are also specially adapted tools and equipment, glasshouses and a training room for tabletop gardening.

Progress of the programme is evaluated via the following:

  • Questionnaires - beginning, mid and post course; identifying personal goals and achievements
  • A group reflective diary
  • Horticultural practitioners’ observational diaries
  • Case studies

Feedback from the client gardeners has been incredible…We’ve planted bulbs, taken rosemary cuttings and sown herb and broad beans seeds in pots. There’s been lots of learning and laughter and even time for a nice chat over drinks and biscuits.

Rachel, Thrive Life Changers Practitioner

Outcomes - based on previous programmes:

  • 75% of participants will report they have a sense of achievement at the end of a session
  • 71% will report improved strength, stamina and mobility
  • 60% will report an increased knowledge of how to garden with their condition
  • 57% will report a reduction in depression and/or mood swings
  • 50% will be able to carry out tasks for longer and with increased strength, dexterity or reduced fatigue

Life Changers helped me socially and emotionally. It helped get me out of the house and meet people. It also helped me appreciate flowers and trees and made me want to learn more about gardening.

LIfe Changers programme participant

T first came to Thrive after being referred by Headway, due to a brain injury she experienced after a series of serious epileptic seizures. During lockdown she spent her time making embroidered doilies and taking part in ‘Zoom’ sessions to keep busy, but she still felt lonely, isolated and lost her confidence. She also started to forget things.

Sessions at Thrive are tailored to suit individual needs, and T’s time at Thrive has helped to stimulate her brain, alongside providing that all important social interaction. Find out more about T's story here.

Life Changer Teena 1 of 2
A life changer participant in the garden

If you or someone you know would like to attend this programme, get in touch on 0121 293 4531 or email using our form

Contact us
Greenhouse fun