When Viv and Sam* came to Thrive they were battling a complex mixture of feelings having been isolated and lonely for some considerable time.
Although they have had different careers and come from different backgrounds these two women have something in common. Both have experienced domestic abuse.
The effects of living in fear are clear to see and the effects are devastating. Sam had spent most of her life looking after other people and volunteering for a number of organisations but when problems began within her home environment she became isolated and lonely.
For Viv, domestic abuse in her past had left her longing to make new friends, particularly amongst other women who would understand what she had been through. The
"Gardening for Good Health" programme designed for women who have lived with domestic violence was ideal and through a referral from Womens Aid, Viv decided to sign up.
At first, she wasn’t sure she would be able to relax and trust other people but once she had settled into the sessions she felt she could talk to the other attendees freely. The women took part in structured gardening sessions together, learning new skills, using a variety of tools and techniques in a secure and supportive environment.
"I enjoyed being in the garden so much, focusing on something other than my problems and interacting with other people who understood. I also loved learning new gardening skills with the help of the therapist." Viv
"It’s given me a few precious hours for myself and I feel needed and valued. The physical activity also gives you a boost and makes you feel better and I have been able to share some of my skills and knowledge with others." Sam
Working at their own pace and with the support of a Horticultural Therapist and volunteers, the women have made fantastic progress. They have learned new skills, gained confidence and forged firm friendships, having bonded over their passion for growing things together.
For Viv and Sam, Thrive has opened up a future filled with new opportunities!
*please note names have been changed for personal protection reasons
£20 can buy boots for a Thrive gardener
£35 can buy garden therapy starter packs including tools and seeds
£60 can pay for a therapeutic gardening session at Thrive
£100 can fund a recognised horticultural qualification