How we can help your patient / client

Our therapeutic horticulture services suit a wide range of clients experiencing varying degrees and types of disadvantage or disability. Participating clients often progress quickly, discovering that they have the emotional strength to garden here independently, or receive more support again if difficulties return or are not overcome. Some participants are in employment or volunteer, some have not worked for a long time or have never worked. Although our services are based on a social model we have a good understanding of medical models and the interrelation between them.

Initial assessment of prospective adult participants experiencing mental ill-health will be primarily undertaken by the centre's wellbeing worker. It will indicate the client's capacity for independent work, level and type of service offered and provide a baseline from which programme planning can be initiated. It will be based on PHQ-9 and GAD-7 questions, widely accepted as standard in mental health services, and also on informal conversations we have with clients. Assessment will be ongoing throughput a client's participation, with a final assessment at the end of the initial period of intervention.
Assessment of participants experiencing other types of disability or disadvantage will be undertaken in cooperation with support workers, group leaders, teachers and those practitioners attending with clients to offer support independently of the charity’s employees.

Contributing time, skills and knowledge for the support of others is an empowering and satisfying thing to do. Everyone referred to our services can work towards volunteering. Experiencing disability, disadvantage or major problems in life should never be a bar to volunteering, but it might mean some participants need considerable support. Experience tells us that volunteering is something to which everyone can aspire, but not necessarily something everyone can do straight away. Helping participants who need considerable support to meet the criteria required of a volunteer forms part of helping people with severe and enduring problems begin to make a meaningful contribution to society and potentially enter or re-enter the workplace.

There is a session charge of £4 per session. Where a client's participation is expected to be lengthy, is part of a statutory care plan, or where the client is in receipt of higher level components of DLA the charge is £40 per day (10am - 4pm)

New Beginnings:

Mondays, 10am - 12pm / 1pm - 3pm. For people experiencing severe and enduring mental health problems. The aim is to match horticultural and related outdoor activities with people's goals and aspirations.

Supported Gardening:

Tuesdays, 10am - 12.30pm / 1.30 pm - 4pm: For clients attending with their own support.
Tuesdays, 1.30pm - 3.30pm:
Inter-generational flower arranging group.
These groups are aimed at people who lack confidence or feel isolated in the community.

Wednesdays, 10am - 12.30pm, 1.30pm - 4pm: For people experiencing: Depression, Learning Disability, Memory Problems, Social Isolation, Low Self-Esteem - any disability or disadvantage.

Support is given to other groups at the Growing Space during the week; primary school groups, the Job Done Project for people seeking to return to work, and a Men's Shed project.


Evidence based practice

To refer a client, please download a form

Telephone number:

01963 31842 Horticultural Worker
planting One participant said of the project so far: “It motivates me to get out, make new friends, with lots of new things to do. Gardening has led to other activities at The Balsam Centre that interested me, like art groups and mosaic classes. You think some of your problems might seem giant size, then you realise there was little to worry about. When you live on your own you never get someone else’s point of view - here you do".