Many people living with disabilities can face loneliness and lack opportunities that some of us take for granted.
Imogen is living with cerebral palsy as a result of brain damage after surgery at the age of two, and a sight impairment.
After school she achieved Level 3 in counselling studies and enjoys volunteering and training, but has found it difficult to find paid work and like a lot of people living with disabilities, has experienced loneliness.
Horticultural therapist Lu met first met Imogen in May 2016 when she joined Thrive's general session group in Battersea and could see how nervous she was. She was offered the place at Thrive so quickly that she hadn’t had much time to get used to the idea.
However, she has been pleasantly surprised at how quickly she relaxed into the course and now Imogen really looks forward to each week in the garden - even enjoying planting a few things at home!
Although her family enjoy gardening, Imogen thought she wouldn’t be able to do it. She was worried about her physical abilities in relation to heavy gardening tasks and Lu didn't think she had considered gentler gardening activities.
Imogen now comes to Thrive once a week and works in the Herb Garden. She enjoys lots of different tasks both in the glass house sowing seeds and potting on, and outside weeding and planting.
|Imogen with Lu. |
Lu said: "Imogen and I have worked together to adapt tasks and tools so that they are more comfortable to use as well as ensuring she doesn’t over exert herself.
"Imogen is very driven and pushes herself to achieve. I have worried in the past that she isn’t pacing herself but in fact she has surprised both me and herself, accomplishing so much more than she thought she was capable of in just eight months at Thrive!
"We have recently set her some new goals to research certain plants and write them up on an information sheet that we use for our qualification groups.
"It has been a pleasure to watch her progress, throwing herself into new challenges without fear. I’m really pleased that she now says she would like to do more work with plants, in particular working in a garden centre, and I am really looking forward to helping her work towards this.
Her family have also seen improvements since Imogen came to Thrive with her mum mentioning that Imogen's coordination has improved and there is more mobility in her hands.
Lu added: "Her fitness has improved too, as well as her mood. She used to arrive at Thrive tired and lethargic but now arrives alert and ready to go!
"Gardening has given Imogen a lot of confidence. She pushes to try new things and is really happy when she completes new tasks. She is a pleasure to work with and has a wonderful sense of humour!"
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With your support, we are using gardening to help people like Imogen find new opportunities.