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Helping people experience the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening will be the aim of a new free online course developed by Thrive in partnership with national family-run garden centre group, Notcutts Garden Centres.

The new online course, Cultivating Wellbeing in Gardens and Nature, will encourage people to use their gardens and spend more time in nature as a tool to improve physical and psychological health.

The course will explore the benefits of gardening in an informal and engaging way, highlighting the evidence and information on why plants, gardens and gardening are a powerful vehicle for better mental health, together with ways individuals can devise practical plans to put the theory into practice.

Time in nature

Thrive’s development of the course, which will be launched in the autumn, has been made possible with generous funding from Notcutts Garden Centres, who are a long-standing supporter of the charity’s horticultural therapy work.

Kathryn Rossiter, Thrive’s CEO, said: `Spending time in nature and gardens has so much value and there is much research to support how it can boost our wellbeing. As we celebrate our 40th year, we want to see more people tapping into the health benefits and for gardening’s therapeutic benefits to be widely recognised.’

Caroline Notcutt, Vice-Chairman of Notcutts Garden Centres, said: 'We are passionate about the benefits that gardening can bring to mental and physical health, and we are delighted that, through this free online course, we can give everyone the opportunity to learn and experience these benefits.

'At Notcutts, we have a fantastic link to health and wellbeing through gardening as my Great-Grandfather, Roger Crompton Notcutt, was advised to work outdoors due to ill health. It was then that his passion for horticulture began and Notcutts Garden Centres was founded over 120 years ago. We are proud that Notcutts is founded on wellbeing and we are pleased that the benefits of gardening are now being recognised and shared more widely.’


Alongside the Cultivating Wellbeing in Gardens and Nature course, Notcutts Garden Centres is also supporting Thrive with the promotion of therapeutic horticulture through the Charles Notcutt Memorial Bursary.

This year, the bursary will pay the fees of two people to study for the Award in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Programme Development. Since the bursary was launched in 2015, 26 people have received funding for their studies.

The eight-week course involves guided and self-directed study with tutorial and resource support from Thrive's Training, Education and Consultancy Team.

Students will reflect deeply about the use of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture for a client group of their choosing with specific support needs and will develop a year-round therapy programme for the group.

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