Injured service personnel and veterans reaped the rewards of their hard efforts and have gained a Level 2 City & Guilds qualification in Practical Horticulture thanks to a course run at Help for Heroes (H4H) Recovery Centre Tedworth House.
The 19-course members, along with their families came together for a celebratory garden party and lunch held at the House, which included lots of fresh produce they had grown throughout the course, followed by a presentation of their certificates from City & Guilds.
Help for Heroes, through its partnership with C&G, launched the course in 2015. It has offered wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans the skills and knowledge to successfully grow their own vegetables, from sowing seeds through to harvesting and was led by H4H Horticultural Therapist, Lucy Thorpe.
Don Hodgson of Lee on the Solent, an ex-army Major was one of the course members who came away with a certificate and a beaming smile: “I suffered a stroke seven years ago which has affected my balance, and three years back I was involved in a car accident and broke 11 ribs, 4 bones in my back and 2 in my neck which has affected my mobility. This course has been great as I can take my time and it’s not too strenuous. It’s good to be back around the ex-service personnel, we all bonded so quickly.”
Tedworth House has a thriving fruit and vegetable garden, complete with a greenhouse and raised beds. The wounded heroes, serving and veterans, learnt skills such as seed sowing indoors and outside, preparing your plot for planting, caring for a planted area and pest identification.
Former Major Hodgson will continue to use his new skills as he has now purchased an allotment near his home. He added: “I’ve been growing fruits and vegetables there too. It’s great.”
Ronnie Allen, Head of Career Recovery at H4H said: “When you leave the military as a result of an injury or illness, it can be especially daunting and quite often the individual is unclear as to what their future looks like. To offer courses and qualifications like this one, accredited by an external body, is really important and helps them to regain any confidence they may have lost. Hopefully, by gaining this City and Guilds qualification, we have ignited the flame and put them on the path towards a new fulfilling future.”
Although the City & Guilds course may have finished for the year, the group hasn’t – and will continue to get together for the gardening club once a week.
Jasper Mann who is the Business Development Manager for City & Guilds and ILM said “Being ex-army myself, it’s great to see the serving men, women and veterans being recognised for their amazing achievements. It’s brilliant that they’re gaining knowledge in a comfortable environment surrounded by like-minded people.”