Thrive uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated or vulnerable. We have over 40 years’ experience of an approach called social and therapeutic horticulture (STH), where trained horticultural therapists work with plants and people to improve an individual’s physical and psychological health, communication and thinking skills.


We help people by:

  • running therapeutic programmes at our regional centres in Reading, London and Birmingham

  • running programmes in care homes, village halls, prisons and other community settings

  • training professionals to deliver STH in their own field

  • providing gardening advice for people with disabilities or ill health to help them carry on gardening, as well as for those new to gardening and looking to improve their health

Carly is a client gardener who first attended Thrive’s regional centre in Reading, after finishing her college course in 2009. She attends one of Thrive’s general therapeutic gardening sessions for adults with a variety of conditions such as autism, physical disability, mental ill-health and learning disabilities. She is passionate about gardening and is a real advocate for the therapeutic benefits it brings.


Carly said `When I first came to Thrive I think I was quite an angry person, but the garden and the people I work with made me feel happy. I’m less angry now.'


Having first started in the garden sowing seeds and potting on, Carly now prides herself in being able to do things like mowing, jet washing, turning compost and moving bark chippings to create accessible walkways for other clients.


`I’m much happier and healthier. I’m definitely fitter too. I’ve learnt so much about gardening and horticulture and have even answered gardening questions when watching tv quiz programmes at home! I know more about nutrition; what’s healthy, how to grow things and how they end up on the plate.'

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