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SHARE Community – Horticulture

My name is Jenny Shand and I’ve worked for
SHARE Community since 1994 in the Horticulture Project. We’ve been offering qualifications virtually
since the start and now we’re offering a whole range of qualifications to meet the needs
of the student group attending. At the moment we start with an entry level
qualification which is a great introduction to horticulture, to growing things, but it
also encompasses some life skills, some personal and social development and some health and
safety and things like that. So people joining the project, if they haven’t
worked towards a qualification before, or if they haven’t worked in a garden before,
will very often join at that level and that will give them very quickly achievable goals. For those people who really want to go on
then we’ve got a level two in work based horticulture. This garden provides a really broad range
of opportunities to try new things. If you’ve got no knowledge then you can come
and you can start really small, but if you’ve got a real interest then we can support that. Because we’re quite small we’ve got the capacity
to be quite person centred – the group is very mixed so you see them supporting each
other. A lot of the time you’re on the edge, sort
of giving support to the whole group but they support each other and it all works really
well here. So somebody coming here: they will get access
to a really, really friendly environment; opportunities to try lots of different horticulture
practices and learn different skills from production of bedding plants, herbs, vegetables,
growing vegetables, growing crops, learning how to manage a public space, a private space,
a garden space, contributing to something that’s really valued by the people who visit. It is a fun place, a safe place. The boundaries
around the garden make it safe. The hospital value us, we’re part of this
community, the hospital community – we’re not completely isolated yet we’re not accessible
just to anybody off the street so people who come here would generally know who we are
and be quite supportive of us. Working with this group of people who really,
really enjoy what they’re doing as well, and tell you so – you can’t really beat it. There’s very little hierarchy here so you
get a lot of people blossoming because of that, because they’re not seen as different
or they’re valued by people that they see as normal. So I think that is a huge benefit. To find out more and get involved –

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