Autism and dyslexia affect a significant number of people worldwide but the difficulties they have to overcome are not always obvious to others and bring many challenges.
Having disabilities that aren't always visible doesn't mean that they are easy to live with. Martell is dyslexic which can be widely misunderstood and has mild autism. He also suffers from depression and sometimes finds it difficult to keep positive and motivated.
Martell found out about Thrive through his Disability Advisor at the Job Centre and arrived at our Battersea centre in September 2015. He began working in the Herb Garden and after a while expressed an interest in moving up and on to a qualification course.
There have been challenges with Martell such as helping him to arrive on time. His condition can make sleeping difficult, and the medication he takes can often cause him to oversleep.
But at Thrive we have the time to help people and believed he was an obvious candidate for progression, as you could hear his enthusiasm for gardening and a desire to know more about plants and plant names. Initially, Martell was a little anxious about moving on to a qualification course, although he settled into the team immediately and has really done well.
He now comes to Thrive once a week, every Monday working to maintain the Winter Garden within Battersea Park although there is a degree of flexibility on the type of work he does to allow for the demands of his course. He also has the sole responsibility for looking after a few beds and borders around where he lives. This role he took on, all by himself, as (how he puts it) an act of guerrilla gardening!
The high points have been watching Martell become more confident within the team and help others, offering them tips and guidance with topics they might be struggling with.
Gardening at Thrive has helped Martell in many ways. Firstly, it has helped him to become more socially engaged. It has helped with his time-keeping, and has given him much structure to his week.
And ultimately, it has helped him to gain employment at a local garden centre where he works for three days a week. There, he is getting to learn the names of many popular garden plants, as well as plenty of customer interaction – it’s a fantastic achievement!
Martell continues to be a great member of the team, growing in confidence each week and is ready to progress on to the Level 2 programme.
Please will you donate today so that more people like Martell can have a productive future?
With your support, we are using gardening to help people to find a career they love!