Seven members of Tukes, NAViGO’s employment and training scheme, will complete a horticulture qualification thanks to a grant from The Gardiner Hill Foundation.
Community Learning in Partnership (CLIP), a Lincolnshire-based training provider, is delivering the 20-week Level Two Certificate in Horticulture.
Members will attend classroom sessions in Market Rasen, with weekly practical sessions also taking place at the NAViGO-run Grimsby Garden Centre.
Tukes provides training, support and work experience in real working environments for individuals who struggle finding work due to their mental health.
“Tukes have always been able to support members to gain recognised meaningful qualifications in their chosen field of employment,” said Maureen Potter, senior support worker at Tukes.
“Qualifications in horticulture have been harder to find as they didn’t meet all of our members’ needs.
“We now have the perfect opportunity to support them in gaining appropriate, recognised qualifications in this field.”
Since NAViGO took on Grimsby Garden Centre in 2015, Tukes have seen an increase in their members’ interest in horticulture after working alongside experienced garden centre staff.
Tukes have found that the therapeutic properties of working outdoors in a social setting have benefited their members mental health and physical wellbeing, as well as their employment prospects.
The course is aimed at developing a wide range of practical and theoretical skills in plant establishment, plant propagation and soil testing.
“Attending this out of area course takes our members out of their comfort zone, supports their confidence and gives a realistic opportunity to improve on their employment prospects,” continued Maureen.
The Gardiner Hill Foundation have agreed to cover the costs of transportation, site visits and placements for the group.
As NAViGO’s charitable arm, it aims to enrich and enhance the lives of those with mental health conditions, accepting grant applications from people seeking to re-establish themselves within the community, education or training.