Making new friends and being outdoors in nature are two of the five key benefits of gardening and both apply to 23-year-old Camilla who is leaving Thrive a more confident young woman about to embark on a new chapter in her life.
Camilla has been coming to Thrive one day a week since she was 19 and has enjoyed looking after her own plot at our gardens in Beech Hill, Berkshire.
Here, she has grown tomatoes and sunflowers, caring for them herself and looking forward to seeing the changes that come every week.
She has loved having the responsibility of her own plot and over the years has worked with our horticultural therapists to decide what she wants to grow.
"I’ve really enjoyed coming to Thrive and the best thing about it has been making lots of friends and being outside," said Camilla.
"I have learnt a lot about gardening and now my dad has given me a vegetable patch in our garden at home so I can grow what I want. This is good because I now have to let someone else have my plot at Thrive."
Camilla also said she enjoyed being filmed by ITV Meridian and interviewed by Simon Parkin who broadcast the weather report from our gardens in April.
"I will miss my friend Mel and the lovely leaders at Thrive; I hope I can stay in touch with them."
Camilla has said that coming to Thrive has made her feel more confident and she is now looking forward to starting in the admin team of the cancer centre at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Her supported internship there is part of Reading Colleges’ Project SEARCH which is an initiative aiming to get more young people with learning difficulties into work.
Camilla will be introduced to hospital support work and will be trained in tasks working alongside others in a scheme which is particularly suited to students with learning difficulties who can benefit from partnership working to help them into employment.
Thrive has helped set her on this new pathway and we wish her lots of luck.