Project Award

Nurturing Recovery

2019 National Winner

Nurturing Recovery is run in partnership by Bridgwater & Taunton College, North Somerset Council and a number of other local agencies to support adults with a range of addictions and mental health issues through tailored horticulture programmes. 

“Many of our learners are unemployed, experiencing mental ill health or recovering from substance misuse. Our aim is to offer them ways to move towards more satisfying lifestyles that could include employment, volunteering or leisure activities. Each learner joins a level 1 practical horticulture course specially adapted to their learning needs. The course offers them job-related skills, life skills, work experience and the chance to progress onto other learning.

We have committed to providing a relaxed approach: start and end dates are flexible, and learners can dip in and out of the sessions to suit their needs. We deliver micro learning sessions and small team-based tasks which are complemented with yoga and other relaxation techniques. The focus is on the learning and the learners – there is no homework nor any exams.

We see our learners re-establish connections with other people and with the world around them; they become more active and fitter, and gain confidence and a new focus in life due to their achievements

We’ve supported more than 100 people in the past five years and now we’re exploring ways to roll it out to other colleges as well as adapting it to benefit young people in schools.”

Learner Colin said, “Gardening became something to wake up for in the morning. It’s my addiction that brought me here but I’m now a year clean and head gardener for a local church. I’ve married my recovery with life, and life to me today is about plants and doing things differently. I feel I’m a productive member of society. I’m a changed person – and I never thought I’d ever say that.”