It consists of two courses – Pathways and Level 1 (leading to City & Guilds Level 1 in Practical Horticulture Skills). The courses are designed for people living with enduring mental health issues, in recovery from physical or mental trauma or illness, or with mild learning difficulties.
The attendees find that their disability or ill health can act as a barrier to training and employment and they need support to develop the necessary skills.
Trained horticultural therapists use the garden and jobs in the garden to build programmes to address the needs of each participant in order to improve health, wellbeing and job prospects.
Recruitment to the programme is on a rolling basis with beneficiaries working at their own pace, but typically taking between 12 and 18 months from starting Pathways to gaining Level 1 and becoming ready for work.
The target group for this programme is adults aged 18 and over whose mental health means that they need an environment which is designed to minimise stress and anxiety. As social interaction can be daunting to individuals struggling with mental ill health, providing the focus of gardening provides an avenue to start working with others, gaining trust, confidence and learning new skills. Being outdoors and active helps both physically and mentally.
This programme runs with groups of up to 8 participants and also offers the opportunity for a client to progress on to a qualification project. As the clients benefit from this non-qualification environment, the horticultural therapist can assess them and route them to the appropriate level of qualification. Clients attend weekly session for up to 26 weeks.
The City & Guilds Level 1 qualification in Practical Horticulture course involves both theory and practical assessment of various aspects of working in the horticultural world, including plant identification, health & safety as well as the garden maintenance tasks such as pruning, mulching, weeding etc. Groups have up to 8 participants.
Participants can be empowered to manage a transition to or re-engage with the working world; and to create a pathway to employment through achieving the following goals:-
Part of the support offered to our clients includes guidance on their progression alongside or after gaining their qualification, such as volunteering, work experience placements and ultimately employment. Clients attend weekly sessions for 6 months to 24 months. Pre-requisite to have attended Pathways, as above.