Therapeutic Work in Gardening Swindon (TWIGS) has been awarded the Nature-based Wellbeing Service contract from Swindon Borough Council.
The decision in favour of TWIGS comes after a lengthy open tendering process where applicants to run the service, that has been provided by TWIGS for 25 years, were invited from across the country.
The Wiltshire-based charity faced strong initial competition from an out-of-county healthcare provider, but it eventually withdrew.
Despite the new contract, TWIGS will still need to find funding to cover the other half of its core costs.
Alan Holland, TWIGS’ Service Manager, said: ‘All of this is dependent on our team and trustees seeking new funding streams, which we are always doing. We very much want to expand what we offer, both in terms of the client groups who access our service and in terms of the breadth of service delivery.’
The funding decision comes at a time when the demand for TWIGS’ services at its 2.5 acre site is rising.
‘We have seen a 50 per cent increase in referrals over the last couple of months, as are all mental health services in Swindon,’ said Alan.
TWIGS offers a one-year placement for people to take part in STH activities but often sees high demand for people to return after that and runs a six-month ‘returners placement’ programme.
Its popularity, Alan believes, could be down to how much people enjoy coming to TWIGS as well as a lack of similar opportunities elsewhere.