The national and local challenges addressed by this social enterprise is the lack of support for those who are disadvantaged mentally and/or physically that occurs in the UK. The Horticultural Therapy Trust supports everyone in need through safe and empowering environments to work towards recovery to address this challenge. The government, donor support, and citizens’’ involvement for this project is through donations from trusts, funding bodies, local people, and companies.
Horticultural Therapy Trust was established and registered in July 2012 with the Charity Commission of the UK. It was founded by Deb Hoskin, Dennis Trewin and Tonny Steenhagen, and from their experiences and learning from the many obstacles. Counseling services for homeless individuals enabled clients to join later other Horticultural Therapy Trust projects.
The principles of work are to support meaningful recoveries through community spaces that foster a sense of belonging, emphasizing that everyone has abilities and value worth supporting and fostering. Deb has always valued community and developing relationships within nature. She participated in voluntary wildlife conservation and enabling special needs in her late 20s, and continued working on projects like these in her community once she had children. The values from this experience influence the principles of work demonstrated through the Horticultural Therapy Trust.
Horticultural Therapy Trust is a service provider that suits the needs and abilities of its participants. It has many projects that support wellbeing in mental, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual perspective. These include growing flowers and vegetables, from seed or cuttings, designing flowerbeds, color schemes, wildlife habitat, digging and weeding, building raised beds, woodwork, creating seating, etc. Participants design and create projects for peer learning and there are a high number of clients finding recoveries through this project.
The objectives are to support adults, young people, and children towards emotional, social, physical and mental health wellbeing; to provide a safe, empathetic, calm, nurturing, enjoyable and empowering environment; to support recovery unique and meaningful to each individual; to focus on peoples’ abilities, while recognizing needs and disabilities; and to value each person and create opportunities to find, develop and reach personal potential.
Through gardening, food growing, wildlife conservation, art, woodwork, etc., people who are experiencing mental physical disability or disadvantages are supported. This includes specific gardening times and therapy sessions for different groups (adults, schools, residential homes).
Inner City: Inner Space for Change is a project that supports groups of people experiencing homelessness through gardening, wildlife conservation and mindfulness.
Garden and Grow is a project that supports the wellbeing of children within schools and centers.
Seeds of Change is a project that supports the wellbeing and inclusion of young people who experience exclusion.
There are also vocational and voluntary opportunities with informal horticultural training. This training will continue to expand the work of the Horticultural Therapy Trust within the field of health and social care.
This project targets participants aged 4 – 80+ experiencing mental health and physical disability, exclusion, stigma, homelessness, or addiction for meaningful recoveries.
The prospective contributions for the Horticultural Therapy Trust are continual support from the community, volunteers who support the programming and upkeep of the projects, and donors and funding who enable the further development of the Trust. The challenges for this project include the balance of time between personal life and the work required to successfully implement and support the work and development of the Horticultural Therapy Trust. This is because this project highly prioritizes the relationships and meaningful impact on participants and the time required to maintain the projects of the Horticultural Therapy Trust.
The impact that this project has is on its participant’s ability to have meaningful recovery in a safe and empathetic environment. There is a high number of clients finding recoveries through this project.
Social entrepreneurship is a way to listen to people in need.
On the national level, this initiative can be expanded and replicated through collaboration and sharing of best practices. This allows for the lessons learned to be applied elsewhere, having multiple communities benefit from social enterprises like the Horticultural Therapy Trust. With communication and collaboration on the national level, more work can be accomplished since more social entrepreneurs can produce and share their creative practices and help one another to be more effective.
On an international level, similar social entrepreneurship projects can be expanded and replicated for the sharing of best practices and inspire principles of work from other countries and cultures. This promotes diversity and international collaboration and cooperation.