Born with a serious congenital heart condition, James had open heart surgery for the first time at just eight days old.
His second operation shortly after his first birthday left him with significant weakness down his right-hand side when he suffered a stroke while in recovery.
James is now an energetic 16-year old, but his medical history has left its legacy – he wears splints to support his right leg and hand and he has developed epilepsy.
As a pupil at Chadsgrove School for children with Special Educational Needs, James loves practical activities.
When the school signed up for the 'Grow & Learn’ programme at Thrive, offering 14 to 19-year olds the chance to study for a horticultural qualification, he was keen to join. The course also helps develop numeracy, literacy and life skills whilst at the same time building confidence and self-esteem.
James loved it and under the guidance of the horticultural therapy team he has achieved the City & Guilds Level 1 in Horticulture and was offered the opportunity to help design and construct a garden at BBC Gardeners’ World Live along with the other Thrive students.
|At BBC Gardeners' World |
"My proudest moment was when our garden won a Silver Merit Award and I loved working on the design, choosing the plants and putting it all together – it was brilliant!"
James and his classmates all live with a variety of disabilities but at Thrive it's all about ability and with the help of a Horticultural Therapist who adapted the tasks and techniques to meet their individual needs it means they can garden and even rose to the challenge of designing and building a show garden!
James and his classmates were in their element talking to visitors about the garden and handing out leaflets.
James’ enthusiasm for gardening has been infectious and his Mum, Dad and Grandad have helped him to create a vegetable garden at home.
He’s been busy growing everything from carrots to broccoli from seed while his Nan has brought over seedlings for James to grow-on, using the skills he learned at Thrive.
James’ Mum Jenny told us that he has gone from being fairly quiet and shy to showing real confidence in his abilities and is looking forward to finding his first paid job.
He's also waiting with excitement for an Assistance Dog who will add to his independence and is looking forward to a great Christmas with his family.
This Christmas, please do give what you can so we can continue our work helping people like James.
Telephone: 0118 988 5688 between 9am and 5pm and we can take your donation over the phone.
Donate by Text: Just text Thri02 and the amount you want to give to 70070. EG Thri02£10 to give £10.