Somerset Project Helping People Transform Their Lives Recognised With National Learning Award - Bridgwater & Taunton College

Nurturing Recovery helps adults recovering from addictions and mental ill health to develop their green fingers and rebuild their lives and has been chosen from more than 200 nominations to win the Festival of Learning 2019 Project award.

The project, run by Bridgwater & Taunton College and North Somerset Council, engages adults with addictions and mental ill health in horticulture training to aid their recovery and build their skills and confidence.

Each learner joins a level 1 practical horticulture course specially adapted to their learning needs to help them develop job-related skills, life skills and work experience. The project aims to give people a positive focus during their recovery and rehabilitation, whilst helping them move towards positive destinations; from hobbies and volunteering, to employment and further learning.

The course provides a relaxed approach, with micro learning sessions and small team-based tasks complemented with yoga and other relaxation techniques. Start and end dates are flexible, and learners can dip in and out to suit their needs. The project has supported more than 100 people, and they are now exploring ways to roll it out to other colleges as well as adapting it to benefit young people in schools.

Organised by Learning and Work Institute, and supported by the Department for Education, the Festival of Learning is an annual campaign which aims to celebrate the power of learning to transform lives, and to encourage more adults to take part.

Andy Berry, principal and CEO at Bridgwater and Taunton College said,

Through this programme we see our learners re-establish connections with other people and with the world around them. It helps them to become more active, more confident and physically fitter, gaining a renewed sense of purpose in life due to their achievements.

Learner Colin said,

Gardening became something to wake up for in the morning. It’s my addiction that brought me here but I’m now a year clean and head gardener for a local church. Life to me today is about doing things differently. I’m a changed person – and I never thought I’d ever say that.

Stephen Evans, chief executive, Learning and Work Institute said,

The Nurturing Recovery project is a great example of the role adult learning can play in rehabilitation and recovery. We hope that other learning providers and groups are inspired to replicate this project’s tailored and flexible approach.

Festival of Learning is all about the inspirational stories of people and projects like Nurturing Recovery, which show that everyone can benefit from learning. Lifelong learning is vital for all of us as jobs and society change around us. We encourage everyone to give learning a try, and if you want to find out how learning could benefit you, get in touch your local college, community learning provider or the National Careers Service.


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