Growthpoint and Kniveden
Main contact number
0300 123 0907
Service based at
Upper Huntbach Street
ST1 2BX – click here to get directions from Google Maps
Service delivered from:
Shelton Allotment Site
ST4 2TR – click here to get directions from Google Maps
ST13 7LX – click here to get directions from Google Maps
9am-5pm – Monday to Friday
About the service
People affected by a range of mental health issues can train as horticulturalists on free training programmes. The therapeutic effect of creating a green and landscaped area is combined with practical skills that can be used for job seeking. Those taking part also have the opportunity to be part of landscaping contracts to gain first-hand experience.
Mental health service users can sign up for the Growthpoint project, either studying in half days or more intensively. The course runs for between 36 to 46 weeks at the scheme’s dedicated gardens off Leek Road. A formal qualification, the National Open College Network Level 1 in Horticulture, is then awarded by Stoke-on-Trent College.
The project has been running successfully for eleven years, tutoring classes of 50 women and men aged 18 to 65 at any one time. A structured personal plan is drawn up for individual development to encourage social inclusion, new skills and boost feelings of wellbeing. Classes cover a variety of subjects, including numeracy skills to help work out measurements for garden plans and woodwork too. The main areas of study are nursery practice, landscape gardening, allotment maintenance and a handy personproject.
To give the maximum benefit to those registered with the mental health service, information and advice is offered on wider issues such as entitlement to benefits and careers information. Working with colleges, doctors, occupational health therapists and other organisations, those studying are also encouraged to take a wider look at exercise, healthy eating and other good habits.
The project began on just two allotments and has now expanded into an area covering 11 allotments with covered tunnels, a greenhouse for nurturing cuttings, a pond, wildlife area and beds for vegetables and herbs. Environment-friendly measures are encouraged and both an automatic watering system and a composting toilet have been installed.
The Kniveden Partnership provides a client centred approach to enable people to regain self-esteem and confidence which helps improve and develop skills whilst attending activity sessions in:
- Horticulture – landscape work and nursery skills
- Pottery – all aspects and craft skills
- Woodwork – fully fitted workshop
- Handy person project
- Jewellery and alternative therapies
- Music group