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Festina Leinte & Thrive to provide Social and Therapeutic Horticulture courses to Irish market

Organised therapeutic horticulture programmes have been shown to increase self-esteem and self-confidence, and develop social and work skills among others. Photo: Festina Lente.

These courses will teach people involved in horticulture how to offer, and setup, Social and Therapeutic Horticulture projects to benefit others.



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30 August 2018

Festina Lente, a non-profit in Bray, Co Wicklow will become a host training centre for charity Thrive UK, to deliver their Social and Therapeutic Horticulture courses to the Irish market.  

With nearly 40 years’ experience as the leading UK charity that uses gardening to help those whose lives are touched by disability or infirmity, Thrive are experts at helping individuals and organisations to use social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) to help others.

These courses will teach horticulture businesses and garden centres how to offer Social and Therapeutic Horticulture projects and how to set them up to benefit others, while in turn growing revenue streams.

The courses are given by Damien Newman, Thrive’s Training Education and Consultancy manager.

Social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) can benefit people in a number of ways:

  • It can be part of a person’s rehabilitation process, to help them recover and “find their feet again” after an illness or a difficult time in their lives.
  • It can help people recover from a wide range of conditions.
  • It can help people to learn new skills.
  • Can help slow down the deterioration seen when someone has a degenerative illness.
  • Better physical health through exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility.
  • Improved mental health through a sense of purpose and achievement.
  • The opportunity to connect with others – reducing feelings of isolation or exclusion.
  • Just feeling better for being outside, in touch with nature and in the “great outdoors”.
  • Social and therapeutic horticultural benefits people with many different disabilities, including those recovering from stroke and heart disease, blind and partially sighted people, those in the early stages of dementia, and people with physical, mental health, and learning disabilities.

Garden projects

Garden projects can be small informal places, perhaps organised and run by volunteers, or they can be more formal, larger organisations and charities, run by permanent staff.

Projects may have their own site on their organisations premises or they may share facilities, perhaps within an allotment, garden centre or nursery.

People also benefit by gardening at home or in an organisation’s premises, perhaps by starting with a simple idea like planting a small container or window box, or growing some herbs on a sunny window sill.

These practitioner courses are for anyone interested in using social and therapeutic horticulture who want to add to their understanding and professional development and who may be looking to improve their contributions to the emerging fields of social and therapeutic horticulture and green care.

There are three courses on offer in Festina Lente Gardens in September and October 2018:

  • Learn how to use Social and Therapeutic Horticulture to benefit people with mental health support needs – September 8 and 9, 2018.
  • Setting up a Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Project – October 6 and 7, 2018.
  • Learn how to use Social and Therapeutic Horticulture to benefit people with learning disabilities – October 27 and 28, 2018.

Go to for more details.

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