Thrive is the leading charity in the UK that uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people who are living with disabilities or ill health, or are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.


This process is known as social and therapeutic horticulture (STH). It uses plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health, as well as strengthen communication skills. Using gardening as a safe and secure place to develop someone’s ability to mix socially and make friends and to learn practical skills is now a proven therapy.

Thrive horticultural therapists use gardening tasks to build a set of activities for each gardener to address their particular health needs, and to work on goals they want to achieve. Last year Thrive worked with over 1,440 client gardeners


What’s so special about gardening?

Gardens are peaceful and restorative. They provide a special place for rehabilitation and recovery. And, being given the opportunity to develop an interest in gardening will give a person benefits that can last a lifetime.

The benefits of an active interest in gardening are:

–          better physical health from exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to increase mobility

–          improved mental health from gaining a sense of purpose and achievement

–          the opportunity to connect with other people – reducing feelings of being alone or left out

–          feeling better for being outdoors, in touch with nature and seeing plants grow, all things that are known to be important to us as human beings

–          the opportunity to learn new things.


More than good health

Improving good health and well-being are at the heart of therapeutic horticulture and there are also other benefits for people who take up gardening.

These benefits are: developing new skills, learning about food growing and what is good to eat, becoming fitter, boosting confidence with new-found knowledge and using this knowledge, and possibly a qualification in horticulture, to get a job.


About Thrive’s work

We work with a wide range of people… people who have injuries from accidents; people with learning impairment; people with mental illness; people with physical impairment such as sight or hearing loss; people with age-related conditions such as dementia, heart problems, diabetes or stroke; young people who have social, emotional or behavioural difficulties; and people who have ill health after leaving the armed forces.

We work in variety of ways. We run therapeutic programmes at our garden sites in London, Reading, Birmingham and Gateshead. We also go out to care homes, village halls, and community projects to encourage gardening activities. And we have a special website that gives lots of information about how anyone can continue gardening at home.


Thrive carries out research

We have brought together a lot of evidence and experience to show exactly how gardening brings about great changes.To spread this knowledge, we run training courses for anyone interested in using horticulture for health and well-being.

In our next blog we will introduce you to some of the people we help.


How you can help and support Thrive

DONATE today. Text Thri02 and the amount you want to give

to 70070; phone us on 0118 988 5688 or donate online at

VOLUNTEER with us in London, Reading, Birmingham or Gateshead

FOLLOW US on Twitter (@thrivecharity) or LIKE our Facebook page

SIGN UP for our newsletters and mailings

For more information contact telephone 0118 988 5688.



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