‘A day out to Thrive helps with my sleep patterns and sets me up for the rest of the week,’ says Shan, who attends our centre in Birmingham’s Kings Heath Park.
Thrive has been a part of Shan’s life since 2006, two years after he was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, a condition that can lead to secondary issues such as diabetes and heart disease as a result of impaired movement and inactivity.
Discovering Thrive’s Carry on Gardening website proved ‘life-changing’. Its wide range of practical information enabled him to ‘relearn’ how to garden in a wheelchair.
It has given me a sense of purpose and structure in my lifeShan
‘My confidence grew exponentially. I soon found myself joining Thrive as a volunteer.’
To help combat the progression of his MS, Shan enrolled on a social and therapeutic horticulture programme, which has helped him physically as well as mentally: ‘I have managed to increase stamina and range of movement in my hand and arm.’
‘The more the better’
Gardening is now a strong motivator, getting him up and moving: ‘It gets me out of the house,’ says Shan. ‘It has given me a sense of purpose and structure in my life.’
His consultant neurologist sees the difference gardening sessions have on him and when she heard there was an opportunity to extend that time at Thrive, her message was emphatic: ‘The more the better.’
Since lockdown and the closure of Thrive Birmingham, Shan has been shielding but still enjoying the benefits of his own garden and appreciating nature.
With his first-hand experience of the health and wellbeing benefits of Thrive’s work, Shan is keen to see the charity come through the uncertainties of coronavirus.
I cannot wait to pick up where we left offShan
‘I am itching to get back. I cannot wait to pick up where we left off,’ he says.
‘That’s why I am urging people to make a donation to help myself and other client gardeners return to the Thrive gardens as soon as it is safe to do so. Donations will help ensure the gardens are ready to be worked in and that new ways of working are implemented to keep clients, volunteers and staff as safe as possible.’