A glitzy London award ceremony hosted by the Sun newspaper, saw our CEO, Kathryn Rossiter, social therapeutic horticulturist Sharon Waldron and volunteer Mike Padbury dressed in best bib and tucker, in line for the Award for Best Health Charity.
The event, which honours those across the health and social care sector who go above and beyond for their patients or causes, was attended by a host of celebrities including Jamie Oliver, former Spice Girl Mel B, Anthony Joshua, Susanna Reid and Chris Evans.
The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak and Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer were joined by the ceremony’s host, a very sparkly Davina McCall. The hour long programme was televised on Channel 4 on 27th November and if you were quick you could spot Team Thrive!
Although Thrive didn’t walk away with the top prize, we made it onto the shortlist of just three charities, beating over a hundred applicants, so we were rightly very proud of being recognised for our work helping people with physical and mental health through gardening.
Thrive Ambassador Shan Akhtar nominated us back in the Summer saying, “Thrive, has given me a sense of purpose and structure to my life. Gardening and being outdoors has helped me manage my condition and enabled me to be a part of a group, rather than sat alone in isolation."
Although my condition took away my career and my mobility, finding Thrive has been a blessing as their prime directive is to change people's lives through gardening.Shan Akhtar
Shan, who lives in Coventry has been making the 50 mile round trip for six years and started gardening at the Birmingham centre after he’d been diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. He had always had a passion for gardening, but found taking those first steps outdoors from the safety of his home took great physical and mental effort.
The journey to get to the Awards ceremony began in the summer when Alex, Sharon, Sarah and the Birmingham team hosted the Sun's film crew at Kings Heath. A big thank you goes to them and of course volunteers Shan and Mike for helping share the impact of our work through this event.
We may not have won the gong for Best Health Charity, but a spotlight shone on our work and highlighted just how important the role of STH plays in mental and physical well being.
Unfortunately Shan couldn’t be at the Awards Ceremony but sent his good wishes to everyone involved. Afterwards, Mike said, “I really enjoyed the experience, although it was a shame that Kathryn didn't get to deliver her acceptance speech.”
Well, there’s always next year!