Thrive, Working it Out

Using gardening to help people get ready for work

From helping us relax and de-stress to improving our self-esteem and confidence, there are many benefits to being active among nature.

In 2019, we partnered with Thrive, an organisation using gardening to bring about positive changes in people’s lives. At Thrive’s garden in Battersea Park, trained horticultural therapists deliver programmes to improve health, wellbeing and job prospects. They work with people living with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.

  • We gave a grant of £25,000 to support Thrive’s employment programme, Working it Out, which uses gardening to improve health, wellbeing and job prospects.
  • 49 people benefited from the Thrive programme. Of participants surveyed, 100% said their physical health and mental wellbeing had improved as a result of attending.
  • 92% of those surveyed said attending had increased or restored their confidence.

Improving physical and psychological health

There are two aspects to the Working it Out programme. ‘Pathways’ is for adults who need a low-stress environment. If you experience mental health issues, like anxiety, social interaction can be daunting. Gardening provides a focus. It’s an effective way to start working with others, build confidence and learn new skills. Being outdoors and active helps both physically and mentally.

When participants have finished Pathways, they can move on to take a City & Guilds Level 1 qualification in Practical Horticulture. It involves theory and practical assessments of working in the horticultural world, including identifying plants, health and safety, and garden maintenance tasks like pruning and weeding.

Everyone works through the programme at their own pace, but it typically takes between 12 and 18 months from starting Pathways to gaining Level 1 and becoming ready for work.

“I felt very low most days, depression had taken over, my life was filled with very harsh and upsetting moments. Thrive has broken the circle and I’ve now become more adventurous.”
Sharon, who took part in the Working it Out programme

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