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13 November 2014

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You are in: Berkshire > In Pictures > BBC Radio Berkshire photos > Thriving in the garden

Maggie Philbin with Steve Rickman

Thriving in the garden

A gardening charity at the Trunkwell Estate near Reading is helping everyone from disabled people to special school kids and stroke victims rebuild their confidence.

BBC Berkshire's Maggie Philbin visited gardening charity Thrive, which since 1978 has been working with people in its gardens as a form of green-fingered therapy.

Maggie Philbin with Jody-Ann and Becky from the Growing Options Programme

Maggie Philbin with Jody-Ann and Becky

The charity, founded in 1978 runs a gardening project from its headquarters on the Trunkwell Estate near Reading.

The charity uses gardening to help disabled people and children from local special schools. Learning about horticulture helps them improve their health and wellbeing, increase their confidence and learn new skills.

Maggie met Ian Rickman, who had started working with the charity 12 years ago after suffering a stroke aged just 40.

He said the charity had turned around his life and gave him a future to look forward to after his illness.

Ian said: "It helped me tremendously. Before coming here I was stuck at another charity and my occupational therapist recommended Thrive.
"As soon as I came here I felt so at ease and at home walking around the garden
"Soon I was growing 16 different variety of vegetables.
"When I had my stroke I never would have thought I was able to garden with one hand."

Volunteer Ken Tudgay, volunteer at Thrive said the charity had given him a new sense of direction.

He said: "I've been here 12 years. When I retired I wanted to work with people, and this gave me a chance to do that.
"You come here feeling not so good and you leave feeling fantastic."

As well as helping stroke victims, disabled and elderly people, Thrive also runs a successful program with children from nearby special schools.

Young people aged 14-16 come along to the Trunkwell Estate near Reading as part of Thrive's Growing Options program.

Gardening gives the youngsters a break from their classroom routine, while at the same time teaching them new skills that could lead to a formal qualification in horticulture.

If you would like more information on the services Thrive can offer, are interested in volunteering or would like to donate money to Thrive go to, call 0118 988 5688 or email

last updated: 18/12/2008 at 12:54
created: 18/12/2008

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