It was the first time Kathryn had been invited to speak to a committee at the House of Lords and the opportunity offered her a useful platform to talk about the work Thrive is doing: “It was very timely for so many reasons: we’d just produced the first draft of the mental health level 5 model, which gave me a brilliant blueprint on which to talk from; the date coincided with the inaugural World STH Day; and not forgetting all the work we are doing to set up an Association for Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH). Lots of things were coming together and therefore timing-wise, had it come up 3-4 months ago, I wouldn’t have had anywhere near as much detail and coherence.”
Kathryn believes an Association for STH is vital to determine the quality standards for an STH practitioner to become accredited within a registered profession.
“It will drive career pathways and Thrive’s response will be to align our training offer with those quality standards and career pathways. It’s a long way off, but that is our goal.”Kathryn Rossiter, Thrive CEO
Giving evidence alongside Emma Birkbeck, who is the founding member of Women in Horticulture, Kathryn explained that much of the discussion focussed on inclusivity and career progression: “Where Thrive adds value is enabling someone who has a good strong horticulture base to learn all the additional elements that are required in order to apply horticulture in a therapeutic way. It’s quite nuanced in some cases, but the work practitioners do is so much more than just engaging someone in horticulture. It’s understanding that the whole therapeutic process is a person-centred approach which draws very heavily on Occupational Therapy principles.”
The work we’re doing is very much positioning STH as a specialism in its own right, which is grounded in horticulture but is so much more than horticulture.Kathryn Rossiter, Thrive CEO
Kathryn believes bringing more people into the conversation will lend further support to Thrive’s journey: “The ability to be able to talk to others at the House of Lords and have that all publicly available on their website was a really positive thing. One of the very useful things they did was at the end of everyone’s evidence session they asked us what we would like to see as a recommendation to Government.”
Over the next few months, the House of Lords committee will produce a report to reflect the vast amount of evidence gathered about the horticultural industry.
Kathryn is optimistic STH will get the recognition it deserves: “It’s a brilliant platform to make the plea that STH is seen as a holistic intervention and that it can and should be supporting the nation’s health and wellbeing, which is an area that isn’t being elevated. I hope there is a specific recommendation about STH and depending on how they word it we need to be ready to spring into action to take things further forward and see what the mechanisms are for follow up. That’s crucial.”