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Date: 5th & 6th May 2018
Time: 9:30am – 4:00pm
Where: Festina Lente Gardens, Old Connaught Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow
Course Tutor: Damien Newman, Thrive Training, Education and Consultancy Manager

As we age maintaining health is very important, particularly in an age when we expect to live to a full life expectancy. Gardening and Contact with nature can be used in different ways to support people to age well. Gardens and gardening can be used in both public health programmes supporting people to age well and therapy programmes that support people to recover from ill health and learn to lead a positive life as our health and occupations change.

The course will explore:

  • The evidence behind the value of gardens for older people health and well being
  • The difference between preventative health and interventive therapy programmes for older people
  • How activity can be adapted to suit different needs
  • Gardens and their design to promote access, interaction, and ensure safety
  • How we can demonstrate the difference it makes to people lives and the impact projects and programmes have

The course will cover sight and other sensory loss, neurological injuries and disability such as stroke, physical disability, dementia and other common mental ill health connected to ageing and the impact of changing roles as we age which often lead to loneliness and feelings of loss.

This 2 day course in Festina Lente provides information, skills, techniques and confidence in using social and therapeutic horticulture to support older people. Exploring evidence based practice and theoretical underpinning to consider the practical application of horticulture as therapy.

2 Day Course is Suitable for:

Anyone interested in using Social and Therapeutic horticulture across the older spectrums including healthcare practitioners, green care practitioners, horticulturists and horticulture educators who want to add to their understanding and professional development and volunteers who may be looking to improve their contributions to the emerging fields of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture and green care.

Price & Booking Information
Price is €230 for the two full days, price does not include lunch.  Click here to book your place.


Festina Lente is delighted to be a host training centre for Thrive UK to deliver their courses to the Irish market.  

Overview of our 2018 Courses, click here for more details about each course:

  • Learn how to use Social and Therapeutic Horticulture To Support Older People To Age Well – 5th & 6th May 2018
  • Understanding Disability in Garden Design – 25th May 2018
  • Setting up a Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Project – 23rd & 24th June 2018
  • Learn how to use Social and Therapeutic Horticulture to benefit people with mental health support needs – 8th & 9th September 2018
  • Learn how to use Social and Therapeutic Horticulture to benefit people with learning disabilities – 27th & 28th October 2018

With nearly 40 years’ experience as the leading UK charity that uses gardening to help those whose lives are touched by disability, Thrive are experts at helping individuals and organisations to use social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) to help others.

These courses will be interactive throughout, both mornings are classroom based, presentation, group work whole classroom discussion, with time in the afternoon completing practical tasks and exploring gardens with lots of whole group chat and Q&A.

Festina Lente is also hosting a Development of Horticultural Therapy in Ireland Seminar & Networking Day on 26th May 2018 for anyone interested in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture., click here to read more about this day.

Social and Therapeutic Horticulture

Social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) involves the use of plants by a trained professional to meet certain clinically defined goals. STH is particularly relevant for the promotion of independence, health and well-bring amongst groups and communities of vulnerable people. This can be achieved through active as well as passive involvement.

Organised therapeutic horticulture programmes have been shown to increase self-esteem and self-confidence, develop social and work skills, improve literacy and numeracy skills, increase general well-being and promote social interaction.

Social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) can benefit people in a number of ways:

  • It can be part of a person’s rehabilitation process, to help them recover and ‘find their feet again’ after an illness or a difficult time in their lives
  • It can help people recover from a wide range of conditions
  • It can help people to learn new skills
  • Can help slow down the deterioration seen when someone has a degenerative illness.
  • Better physical health through exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility
  • Improved mental health through a sense of purpose and achievement
  • The opportunity to connect with others – reducing feelings of isolation or exclusion
  • Just feeling better for being outside, in touch with nature and in the ‘great outdoors’

Social and therapeutic horticultural benefits people with many different disabilities, including those recovering from stroke and heart disease, blind and partially sighted people, those in the early stages of dementia, and people with physical, mental health and learning disabilities.

Damien Newman, Thrive Training, Education and Consultancy Manager Bio

I am Damien Newman, Thrive’s Training Education and Consultancy manager, I deliver and manage the sharing of Thrive’s experience and expertise in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture through short courses, higher education, bespoke training and consultancy. I have worked for Thrive for over 7 years delivering upwards of 300 courses on the subject, additionally presenting at various national and international conferences and having articles on the subject published in both specialist and general publications. Having accredited one of the few higher education curricular in the field of nature based health and care interventions I am one of a handful of people across the world who lecture and provide higher education in this field. I have taught in the field of Health and Social Care for over 12 years following and during 12 years of working in mental health services where I first realised the value of horticulture as a therapeutic tool for people with ill health and disabilities. I believe and work toward nature, gardens and horticulture being appropriately utilised across society for the health benefits it is evidenced to provide.

Cancellation Policy

All courses must be 100% paid in advance to secure your place.
Cancellations 4 weeks or greater before start date – Full refund
Cancellations 3 weeks before start date – €25 administration fee.
Cancellations 2 weeks before start date – €75 administration fee.
Cancellations 1 weeks before start date – no refunds.

About Thrive

Thrive are the leading UK charity using gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people who encounter disabilities or ill health.

Thrive have been educating people for over 35 years and our courses are run throughout the UK by a highly professional team of trainers with expert knowledge and experience.

Award in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Course

The 2 day course in Festina Lente is also an access course to the “Award in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture” Course accredited by Coventry University and endorsed by the College of Occupational Therapists until 2019.

The purpose of the Award is to equip horticultural therapists – and anyone offering horticultural activities in other areas of education, health and social care – with the knowledge, skills and methodology required to provide a robust therapeutic programme for the benefit of a specific client group.

By achieving the Award, participants will possess these important professional capacities. They will also be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of their practice to various stakeholders through the use of carefully selected assessment methods.

Click here to read more about the Thrive Award-in-Social-and-Therapeutic-Horticulture-Course and how to apply directly with Thrive