Gardening brings hope to disadvantaged young people

A south London social enterprise company is using the benefits of gardening to provide much needed skills to young people with learning disabilities or special educational needs.

The 16-19 year olds are growing vegetables and it is hoped that the experience of working as a team and producing food will help them to lead more independent lives.  They will also qualify with a City and Guilds Level 1 in horticulture after two years.

Their work takes place at the Crossways Garden in Peckham and in Battersea Park, and cafes and restaurants in the area are to use the ‘local produce’ yielded.

The charity that runs the two-year programme is Thrive, which is a national leader in social and therapeutic horticulture.  It aims to help those with disabilities and mental health problems through gardening.

Gabriel Ash’s Robin Parker commented: “These young people need a helping hand on to the ladder of life and Thrive is giving it to them.  Not only will they achieve independence, but practical gardening skills that can feed them and give them pleasure for years to come.”

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