A horticultural therapist from South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been presented with the Winston Churchill Fellowship at a special ceremony in London.
Richard Brown, who works in the Horizon Centre, the Trust’s learning disability service in Wakefield, was presented with the Winston Churchill Fellowship by Dame Mary Peters.
The Winston Churchill Trust funds British citizens from all backgrounds to travel overseas to bring back knowledge and best practice for the benefit of others in their professions and communities.
Last year Richard travelled across north America for one month to help further his knowledge and understanding of horticultural therapy as a treatment.
Richard’s role at the Trust involves using gardening as a therapy to help improve both physical and mental wellbeing. Horticultural therapists are specially trained members of treatment and rehabilitation teams. They help people get involved in gardening to help improve their confidence and build skills to manage their physical or mental ill health.
Richard said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be awarded the fellowship. The trip was a fantastic experience and has given me different ways of thinking and working. Gardening really can help transform lives, it’s something anyone can do and it really does improve confidence when you can see your garden transform right in front of you. The Trust already uses horticultural therapy to support people and we see every day the benefits this brings to people. I can’t wait to put some of the ideas I’ve picked up on the trip into practice.”
At the same time as improving his knowledge Richard acted as an ambassador for the Trust, raising the profile of horticultural therapy and promoting the Horizon Centre as a multi-disciplinary specialist service.
Throughout Richard’s travels he wrote a blog about his experience and what he learnt from his visits to some of the world’s leading horticultural therapy centres. You can view his blog by visiting www.thetravellinght.wordpress.com.