A horticultural practitioner at the Trust has been awarded a place on the prestigious Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship.
Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) Travelling Fellowship awards travel grants to British citizens from all walks of life, to enable them to acquire knowledge and experience abroad for the benefit of others in their profession and community in the UK. In the process they gain a better understanding of the lives and cultures of people overseas.
As part of his travelling fellowship Richard Brown, who works at the Horizon Centre- a learning disability service in Wakefield, will be heading to Ontario, Canada, and Michigan and Chicago in the USA for one month to explore the use of horticultural therapy as a medical treatment.
Richard’s role at the Trust involves using the practice of gardening as therapy to improve both physical and mental wellbeing. Horticultural therapists are specially educated and trained members of treatment and rehabilitation teams who help get service users involved in all phases of gardening as a means of bringing about improvement in their life.
During his visit Richard will visit the Chicago Botanic Garden, a world leader in the professional education and delivery of horticultural therapy, the Niagara Botanical Gardens in Ontario, Canada and Detroit Urban Farms. Richard is also planning to attend the 40th annual American Horticultural Therapy Conference in Minneapolis to meet and learn from world leaders in the profession.
At the same time as improving knowledge Richard will be working to raise the profile of the Horizon Centre as a multi-disciplinary specialist service and the Trust.
Richard said, “This is a great opportunity for me to further my knowledge of how horticulture is being used in different countries at the same time as looking at how we might progress its use across the Trust. The Trust’s horticultural therapy support group is doing some great work increasing awareness of therapy and fellow horticultural practitioner Tony Howden, who works at Newton Lodge has been instrumental in running the group, which has helped me and other Trust staff benefit from his knowledge in the field. I hope to able to use this trip to further the work of the group.”
On his return Richard will present the findings of the trip to the national horticultural therapy member organisations Thrive and Association of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Practitioners (ASTHP). He will also assist in the process of creating a professional registration body of horticultural therapists in the UK through experience gained of the American and Canadian registration systems. Across the Trust Richard will produce a report of the findings that will be shared with staff.
Richard is just the second member of the Trust to receive a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, after dance and movement psychotherapist Dr Richard Coaten was awarded a fellowship in 2010 to go to Canada to investigate the use of dance movement psychotherapy in dementia care.
Richard added, “I have set up a blog to keep people updated with my plans, progress and findings as I go along. This can be found at www.thetravellinght.wordpress.com I’d also encourage other people to apply to the fellowship as it’s an extremely worthwhile scheme. Applications are now open for 2014 Winston Churchill Fellows Find out more online at www.wcmt.org.uk.”