Garden ambassador David Domoney presents certificates to students in Birmingham


Young people on a Thrive gardening course are celebrating after receiving their qualification certificates from TV gardener David Domoney.

David, who’s Thrive’s garden ambassador, was full of praise for the young people, all of whom have special educational and/or complex needs and have overcome many barriers in their lives.

They have all achieved City and Guilds in Practical Horticulture Skills at Level 1. The young people from Chadsgrove and Oscott Manor Schools are following Thrive’s Grow and Learn programme which offers practical training in gardening to support young people (aged 14-19).

David Domoney said: "What a wonderful achievement these young people have made on this very supportive and inclusive programme run by Thrive.

"They are all motivated and have clearly enjoyed learning about gardening and putting this into practice. I wish them all success in the future."

Horticultural therapists from Thrive work with students once a week and help them develop practical gardening skills whilst teaching them about healthy living and lifestyles. 

Thrive expects them to develop confidence and self-esteem and the charity’s approach is tailored to enable students to progress at their own speed.  

Part funded by The Rowan Trust, the Grow and Learn programme is now in its second successful year at Kings Heath Park in Birmingham.

Elizabeth Robinson from the Trust was full of praise for the programme when she visited Thrive in the autumn and said: "I was delighted to see these young people as they learn from the experienced horticultural therapists at Thrive and look forward to seeing how they develop."

Several teachers have reported an increase in their student’s participation in other activities as their confidence grows and they share successes with their classmates.

Angela Macvie, Deputy Head at Chadsgrove School, said: "I was so impressed with all that you are achieving at Thrive and I can see why the pupils like it so much."

Amanda Fields, Thrive regional manager in Birmingham, said: "In the transition to adult life, children with a learning disability and complex needs are disadvantaged; they are often socially excluded and can live with a sense of failure and under-achievement.  

"Alienation from their peers results in higher truancy rates, which exacerbate poor academic achievement.  Grow and Learn is designed to fill a gap to help these young people by offering informal learning in an out-of-school environment.  

"It aims to improve their life chances and place them in a stronger position to discover new skills and talents. We are helping to prepare them to take the next step, whether that is into further training, volunteering, or employment."