Freemasons grant for gardening therapy projects helps disadvantaged Londoners grow into jobs

Londoners living with physical and mental ill health are to benefit from projects aimed at improving their job prospects, thanks to a major grant from London Freemasons to gardening therapy charity Thrive. The £45,000 grant will fund initiatives based in Battersea Park which will provide severely disadvantaged people with skills and qualifications that will help them find work or pursue volunteering or further training.

Initially, help concentrates on developing basic work and gardening skills.

Many will then go on to join Working It Out, a work shadowing programme where people work in teams carrying out landscape maintenance in Battersea Park, while at the same time studying for a City & Guilds Level One in Practical Horticulture. Alongside this they will receive one-to-one support from a Thrive Horticultural Therapist as well as help with drafting CVs and job hunting.

Since Working It Out was launched, 250 people from six inner London boroughs have joined the project and 33 per cent have gone on to gain jobs, significantly higher than similar government programmes. The grant from London Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Becs Baumber, Thrive’s London Regional Centre Manager, said: “We’re very grateful to London Freemasons for this generous grant, which will enable us to carry on providing two vital projects for another three years. These projects have a track record of helping our clients gain employment and greater independence.”

Adrian Fox, of the London Freemasons, said: “We are very pleased to support Thrive’s successful work helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people. These are two excellent projects that can give people with mental health issues the help and support they need to move into work.”