Scotts Miracle-Gro blazes a trail
As part of our community outreach activities, we support charities that use gardening and horticulture as a great source of help and therapy. Our latest charity project is Trailblazers. Trailblazers is a national charity that reduces re-offending among young people through providing volunteer mentors.
A pilot has been launched at HMP/YOI Littlehey in Cambridgeshire to work with 60 young people to design and build a therapeutic garden. If this pilot is successful, similar projects will be launched in other youth offenders’ institutes across the UK.
Even in its early stages, the project has had some great success:
- 100% of the participants have improved their behaviour.
- One serious self-harmer has reduced incidents of self harm by half through working on the project.
- Participants have been downgraded from medium-risk prisoners to low-risk prisoners, and all have re engaged in education.
The new garden at Littlehey has been designed, and will be built and maintained by the inmates with the aims of:
- Educating young (16 to 25) people about the environment.
- Improving understanding of sustainability and individual choice.
- Through introducing composting and a wormery, reducing the environmental impact of the prison.
- Using the natural environment as an additional means of rehabilitation for the hardest to reach young people, particularly those suffering from mental illness, self-harmers or the 25% with learning disabilities or chronic illness.
We have donated growing media and other garden products to help in the creation of this new garden, and will also be available to assist with any horticultural questions and offer any training needed. We have arranged a visit for mid-March when we will be shown the 2 new garden sites and have a chance to chat to the lads involved in creating the design and find out first hand what this opportunity means to them.
This is an excellent use of horticulture as therapy, and we are very excited to be involved and see how this project evolves. To find out more about Trailblazers, visit the website.