Growing Plants and Confidence
We’ve just launched the second of our therapeutic horticulture scholarship schemes at Walbottle Campus in Throckley. The scholarship involves Year 10 and Year 11 pupils (aged 13 to 15) and is designed to develop skills and self-esteem for those struggling to meet their full potential. It provides the support and tuition for them to develop sufficient confidence in gardening and practical horticulture to sit the City & Guilds Level 1 Award.
We run the scheme in partnership with Northumberland College at Kirkley Hall, Ponteland. The tutor from Northumberland College, John Wallace, is looking forward to seeing the participants grow in confidence: “The programme runs until the end of the summer term in July, so it’ll be great to see what’s developed – plants and personalities!”
The aim is that at the end of the five years, students qualify for a place at Agriculture College or for an apprenticeship in a horticulture business such as a garden centre.
In 2014, we were awarded funding by the trustees of the John and Florence Adamson Trust to support our mental health aims and this money enabled us to create the scholarship, with the first project starting at Southlands School, North Shields. Funding for this new project at Walbottle School came from The Ernest Cook Trust and The Finnis Scott Foundation.
We’re now in discussion with other schools in Northumberland and hope the scheme can be rolled out – hopefully in Sunderland and County Durham – and involve Year 9 pupils, too. We’d welcome offers of funding to help benefit more of our region’s disadvantaged young people in the same way.