Disability charity unveils new-look therapeutic garden in Battersea Park

Published: Thursday 31st July 14

Battersea Park’s much-loved Herb Garden has been given a new lease of life through the green fingered skills of disabled people, the national charity Thrive and famous French cheese making company Boursin.

As part of a project funded by the soft-cheese company, disabled people who are supported by Thrive have painstakingly and lovingly restored the park’s Herb Garden. 

The herb garden in all its glory

Thrive’s pioneering work uses gardening and horticulture as therapies to help people with a range of disabilities.
 
With the support of Wandsworth Council’s parks department, Thrive has been working with disabled people at two locations in Battersea Park for many years – the Herb Garden and the Old English Garden.

The gardens offer safe and secure places where people can mix socially, make friends and learn practical skills to help them become more independent.

On a wider level, the charity aims to bring about profound transformations in the lives of those it supports by improving their physical and mental health. It also uses its gardening projects to teach disabled people the skills to find work or volunteering opportunities.

This donation from Boursin has enabled the charity to upgrade and enhance the Herb Garden creating a stunning display of culinary, medicinal and therapeutic herbs and spices.

The new look garden was unveiled earlier this month to mark Bastille Day and was officially opened by Rosie Boycott, Chair of London Food. It will engage 51 people who are severely disadvantaged in the employment market, unable to sustain independent employment but capable of contributing and performing in a supported environment. 

Thrive uses horticultural therapy to help disabled people

Thrive’s chief executive Kathryn Rossiter said: "We envisage that 80 per cent of disabled gardeners taking part will improve their psychological health and wellbeing, their physical health, personal and social skills, communication and social interaction and motivation.

"And we expect to see around half of those taking part move on to new roles as supported employees beyond the project duration.

"It is clear to us that working in a public park, developing gardens and making real changes to create public amenities have a profound impact on people.”

The council’s environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “We are very proud of our long and successful association with Thrive and delighted that we have been able to support and assist their important work helping disabled people for so many years.”

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