ESFA TV case study

Green Health Thames Valley provides support for clients with mental health difficulties through tailored, horticulture-based programmes. They were awarded £19,418 from ESFA Community Training Grants for their project ‘Progression Through Horticulture’ (PTH).

PTH aims to support clients through horticultural activities that helps to improve individuals’ life skills, confidence, motivation, independence and socio-economic inclusion in the Thames Valley region.

Mental illness is the UK’s largest disability with 1:4 people experiencing a mental health problem at some point in their lives. This means that long-term unemployed individuals are more likely to experience heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness than their employed peers.

Therefore the PTH project aims to provide a safe, unpressurised environment where participants can engage at a pace that is comfortable for them, supported by a designated Horticultural Therapist and team of volunteers.

On joining the project, beneficiaries are individually assessed using the ‘Mental Health Recovery Star’ which is designed for adults managing their mental health, or recovering from mental illness, and of which forms the basis for monitoring individual challenges, recovery plans and progression. The ultimate project aim is to support clients’ progression from dependence to independence.

When ready, clients will be introduced to development opportunities to move them closer to socio-economic inclusion, such as: money management, confidence building, prioritisation, and volunteering /employment opportunities. Green Health Thames Valley will encourage attendance by creating a sense of purpose, community, belonging and providing 1:1 mentoring and support.

PTH will use eco-therapy to help speed up recovery, help individuals take control of their lives and develop skills for new employment opportunities. Activities will range from: gardening, plant propagation & care, woodworking skills, healthy cooking classes, to a range of workshops/training courses including IT skills and confidence building; therefore helping individuals move closer to economic inclusion, volunteering or employment.