'Growth' Project

Growth horticultural therapy

We’ve had a therapy garden here at Ryton Organic Gardens since 1990, offering people with learning support needs and/or health and well being issues, the opportunity to garden organically in a supportive and caring environment.

In 2004, we increased our range of horticultural activities and our clients now work within the main gardens, with the aim of promoting self-esteem, confidence and independence.

What We Do

The therapy group maintains two of our display gardens on site: The Memorial Garden and The Special Needs Garden, and also helps to support work carried out around the site.

This includes tasks such as:

  • Lawn maintenance
  • General garden tasks
  • Propagation
  • Growing and harvesting vegetables
  • Caring for tender plants in greenhouse and polytunnels

Case study

James James, aged 31, is autistic and epileptic. He joined the Horticultural Therapy project in 2005.

He initially came with a support worker as he lacked confidence, particularly when working in large groups. After just three months, James built up his level of skills, gained more confidence and now works happily as part of a team and travels independently. He is now a very reliable and capable member of the team.

“It’s good exercise and the jobs are different every week”

We Offer

  • A safe and accessible environment
  • Support from a fully trained horticultural therapist and volunteers
  • Structured and appropriate work programmes tailored to individual needs
  • A knowledge of basic gardening skills and 'on the job' training
  • Development of life skills
  • A diverse range of interesting and stimulating horticultural activities
  • An outreach service at your premises by arrangement, e.g. at schools, day centres, etc We also work in partnership with schools and colleges to co-ordinate vocational activities

Our clients say


I like doing different jobs. I like coming because I get help here, it's relaxing - Julian


It's a nice place to work. I like sweeping up - Glyn


I like gardening and seeing my friends here. It's a very nice place to come to - Penny


I like cutting back plants, weeding and potting and learning about the seasons - Ashok

Like to find out more?

We’d love to hear from you. Please contact, Colette Bond, Head of Education
Telephone: 024 7630 8217
Email: cbond@gardenorganic.org.uk

The projects operate on Mondays and Thursdays. Fees are £50.00 per person, per day.