Thrive launches Charles Notcutt bursary

Thrive has announced a new training bursary made possible by a generous donation to the charity in the name of the late Charles Notcutt OBE, the former Notcutts chairman, who died in 2015 aged 81.

The Charles Notcutt Memorial Bursary will enable five students to complete Thrive's award in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture.

The award combines two days of teaching with an eight week period of accompanied self-directed learning. The bursary will cover the cost of five places on our specialist knowledge programme, followed by access to the Award assignment. The ordinary combined cost of this is £550.

The closing date for applications is 29 April, 2016.

Thrive is the charity in the UK that uses gardening to help people living with disabilities or ill health, or those who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable, at their four regional centres and in the community, by using plants and gardening to bring positive changes to their lives.

Damien Newman, Thrive’s national training and education coordinator, said: "More and more people from different backgrounds are deciding to embark upon a new career in social and therapeutic horticulture.

"We offer ‘Step into Social and Therapeutic Horticulture’ workshops that provide a great introduction and provide careers advice and connect people with opportunities to volunteer.

"And Thrive can help people who want to take their training further, or become professional horticultural therapists, to study courses that we run in collaboration with Coventry University and Pershore College.  In total around 700 people access our training programme each year."

Looking to the future, Damien describes horticultural therapy movement as being "on the crest of a wave" and as it continues to gain credibility as a proven, cost-effective treatment that could help vulnerable people with a range of support needs and save the NHS millions of pounds each year, it is little surprise that the interest of the medical profession has once again been aroused.

Former President of the Royal College of Physicians and Thrive Patron Sir Richard Thompson was one of the first to call for gardening to be prescribed on the NHS.

He said: "I have, for some time, thought doctors should prescribe a course of gardening for people who come to them with depression or stroke.

"Drug therapy can be really expensive, but gardening costs little and anyone can do it."

Dr William Bird, a GP who advises Public Health England on physical activity, believes that every £1 spent on horticultural therapy could save the health service £5 in other treatments:

"Some doctors have not yet accepted that something so simple can be more effective than drugs," said Dr Bird.

"But we know it works; and I would say the ‘green gym’ is good for everyone, but it is particularly beneficial for people with mental ill health, depression, anxiety and dementia."

"The savings made could see money being channelled in other directions such as cancer drugs."

There are around 11.9 million living with a disability in the UK. In order to ensure that many more can experience the benefits of gardening for health and well-being, Thrive believes it is essential that a new generation of professionals and practitioners are equipped with the skills and knowledge required to offer credible, high quality therapy sessions across the UK.  

Newman added: "Thrive, alongside others in Green Care, the Horticultural Trades Association and RHS have been promoting gardening for health and well-being, making connections with the medical profession and trying to get Public Health to recognise the value of Horticulture for health and well-being.

"More calls for doctors to ‘prescribe gardening’ mean we could see a huge demand for people who have knowledge of horticulture and have been trained to use horticulture as a therapy in the coming years." 

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