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Health & Wellbeing

Plants and horticulture help heal and boost people’s fitness and mental health. People suffering all levels of physical and mental ailments can be helped and sometimes rehabilitated through growing plants and gardening. The scents, sights and textures of gardens, as well as the act of gardening itself can re-awaken memories and reignite stifled energies and abilities.

As well as those listed below, other related jobs include Project coordinator, Garden Designer for sensory or therapeutic gardens and Gardener.

Green Gym Manager

What they do: Green Gym is a scheme run by the British Trust Conservation Volunteer (BTCV) which helps people get fit through “green fingered” projects doing manual labour in parks rather than paying gym membership. Green Gym-goers won’t be squaring up to a rowing machine or weights. One day they might be cutting back invasive undergrowth, the next planting trees or wildflowers, repairing steps on a public path or clearing out an overgrown pond.

Where they work: As a manager of a Green Gym, you’ll be working in one of over 100 Green Gyms across the UK, helping to manage some of the approximately 10,000 volunteers who have improved over 2,500 green spaces across the country since the first BTCV Green Gym was launched over 10 years ago.

More information: The Conservation Engineers Green Gym

Horticultural Therapist

What they do: There is something wonderful about growing plants, seeing cuttings root and seeds grow. These activities can also bring joy to the lives of many people with additional needs, from those with mobility problems to those with special educational needs.

Often working with plants can be the first steps towards self-confidence and self-expression, factors used in the field of horticultural therapy. Horticultural therapy allows you to work in the caring profession, but with a horticultural aspect as well, helping people to overcome disability therefore making it even more rewarding.

Career path: There is no single route into to a career in horticultural therapy and currently no one course that will cover everyone’s needs. The range of jobs in horticultural therapy means that there is different emphasis on different skills and qualifications for each project.
Increasingly, employers are demanding multi-skilled professionals who have both experience and a formal qualification.

Horticultural therapists not only need to be able to develop relevant programmes for their clients, but also manage staff and volunteers, raise funds and draw up detailed proposals for developing the projects. A good start would be to attend a short course and volunteer to work at a social and therapeutic horticulture project.

Where they work: There are many different types of project but they all use a garden setting and gardening activities to benefit people’s lives. Projects are located on allotments, in community gardens or at nurseries, hospitals and even prisons and may be run by paid staff and/or volunteers and helpers.

More info: Thrive