Shan
Shan joined Thrive Birmingham Kings Heath in 2016 as a volunteer, initially to overcome isolation of being housebound by increasing disability brought on by primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Shan has supported individuals with autism, hearing loss, learning disabilities and life-long health conditions and has been governor at a primary school for children with special educational needs.

As a tutor in the Adult Education Sector he mentored adult learners through obstacles brought on by advances in information technologies and new media,with particular regard to teaching new ways of communicating with friends and family. The mentoring has drawn on his experience as a postgraduate researcher in the social sciences. In particular, his interest in qualitative research'oral histories’ into uses of media, culture and narratives of identity.

After visiting Thrive’s 'Carry on Gardening’ website in 2016 for tips to improve his own gardening, Shan responded to an ad calling for volunteers at Kings Heath,Birmingham. After a thorough and thoughtful interview process he decided to become a volunteer with the understanding that, as need arises, he could consider becoming a client. Working at Thrive, Shan was immersed into the workings of tailored social and therapeutic horticultural programmes and came to understand the vital role of the social and horticultural therapist.

Shan took on the role of plant sales and garden tour guide. Responsible for cultivating and preparing plants,researching the history of the Kings Heath television gardens, promoting the work of Thrive and sharing these with visitors to the garden. On a personal level it put him in touch with his ancestors, as Shan descends from a clan of market gardeners.