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Thrive’s CEO Kathryn Rossiter will champion the importance of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture when she chairs a speaker’s panel at a leading-edge seminar on Green Therapies.

The one-day conference, called ‘Propagating Green Therapies in the UK: Joining the Dots’ will be held at Tuppenny Barn in Southbourne, West Sussex on Monday 9th October.

A joint venture between Gardening4Health, Garden Masterclass and Tuppenny Barn, the national seminar will hear from people working in the green therapy sector and their wish to make Green Care available to all. Award-winning landscape designer and BBC Gardeners’ World presenter, Arit Anderson will be compering an outstanding line up of speakers including:

  • Maggie Haynes, CEO of Tuppenny Barn
  • Sue Stuart-Smith, Psychiatrist and author of ‘The Well Gardened Mind’
  • Steve Brine, MP for Winchester and Chair of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee
  • Richard Claxton GP, founder of Gardening4Health and keen advocate of nature-based therapy
  • Fiona Thackery, CEO of Trellis, Scotland’s network for therapeutic gardening

The event is open to all and will be of particular interest to professional people working in the field and those considering starting their own Green Therapy project. Whilst all in-person tickets have sold out, you can still book to attend the event online.

Tickets to join online cost £25 and are available here, along with more information about the event. You can also phone 01244 377780 or email contact@tuppennybarn.co.uk.

Dr Richard Claxton shares what to expect at the conference on 9th October

The afternoon session at the conference is called ‘The Future: Ways Forward’. The panel of speakers include Olivia Chapple from Horatio’s Garden, the charity which creates gardens at NHS spinal injury centres, and lecturer and researcher at Essex University, Carly Wood, who will discuss her latest research on green social prescribing.

They will be joined by Dr Richard Claxton, whose background as a GP has given him a focus on the benefits and importance of gardening for health and wellbeing.

Dr Richard Claxton reduced
Dr Richard Claxton

Richard credits his hobby with helping him through the stresses and strains of his career as a junior medic and says gardening has been with him all his life.

'It’s been a go-to de-stresser for me. I’m not a sporty guy, I don’t get on with lycra or the idea of being in a gym and I’ve become more and more into gardening since I was a teenager. Since the pandemic the rest of the world has woken up to the benefits of gardening and now it seems that my lived experience is very much in tune with current thinking and the momentum that’s developing.'

With social prescribing booming and encouraged by the NHS, Richard felt there was a lack of publicising and coordinating local services which led him to develop Gardening4Health a website directory of national community garden schemes.

We’ll be looking at how we can make these kind of projects not just nice to have in a health and social care commissioning sense, but make them core and available to everyone in community healthcare settings and hospital healthcare settings too.

Dr Richard Claxton

Richard will be talking about his website at the conference and other ways to further STH opportunities.

'I’m hoping the afternoon’s seminar will focus on looking forward on how we can spread these kinds of projects and make them not just nice to have in a health and social care commissioning sense but to make them core and available to everyone in community healthcare settings and hospital healthcare settings too.'

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Kathryn Rossiter, CEO of Thrive

Thrive’s CEO, Kathryn Rossiter chairs the Green Care Coalition and the Therapeutic Stakeholder group. With her breath of knowledge of both groups, she will chair the afternoon’s panel discussions, inviting guest to reflect on how to promote and scale up Green Care therapies.

It’s great there’s a focus on healthy places, but we know that people who are not well or vulnerable need support to get the best out of gardens and green spaces.

Kathryn Rossiter

It’s hoped that the seminar will lead to wider availability of therapeutic horticulture as well as the professionalisation of the sector and better coordination of services across the nation, so that anyone, regardless of where they live will have access to STH.

Many of the delegates are from a network of skilled therapeutic gardening practitioners ready struggling to get funding for their time. We need to find how health and care funding can help make these therapeutic services available to more people.

Kathryn Rossiter

Thrive is delighted to be involved with this important and insightful event and look forward to some serious debate and sharing the outcomes with you.

Green Care refers to therapy or treatment programmes that take place in natural surroundings and connect nature and health.

Green Care programmes are designed for individuals with a defined need to achieve clear outcomes. They use a person-centred approach, which means that clients are involved in all the decisions made which increases benefits and ensures their safety.

Programmes involve active and regular engagement with a range of meaningful nature-based activities by trained practitioners to create a sense of achievement, personal responsibility and self-confidence. Green therapies also offer opportunities to learn new skill; by taking place within a social setting they also promote feelings of inclusion and belonging. Examlesof Green Care include Social & Therapeutic Horticulture, Animal Assisted Therapy, Care Farming and Community Food Growing.

Green therapy is gaining momentum across the UK and was the subject of a two-day Health and Horticulture conference at RHS Wisley in March.

It’s hoped this seminar will become an annual event and that it will drive the campaign to get STH written into NHS planning, so that it becomes a fully funded service.

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