Who is Thrive?
Thrive is a small national charity, founded in 1978, that uses gardening to change the lives of disabled people. We believe passionately in the power of gardening to help, and see first-hand how gardening can help everyone regardless of age or disability.
Our activities are varied but focus on championing the benefits of gardening to individuals and organizations, as well as teaching techniques and practical applications so that anyone with a disability can take part and enjoy gardening.
We run two garden projects where disabled people living locally work with therapists trained in social and therapeutic horticulture and learn how to use gardening to meet their own needs. The Thrive Trunkwell Garden Project is in Beech Hill near Reading and the Thrive Battersea Garden Project is in Battesea Park, London. We also maintain a contact list for garden projects in the UK, so we can help find a project locally to you as well.
To find out more about Thrive, visit the Thrive website or download a pdf of our comprehensive leaflet:
Using gardening to change lives: a guide to who we are, what we do, how we do it
What is the Carry on Gardening website for?
Carry on Gardening is to give information, help and advice to everyone who needs some extra help to start or continue gardening. You may have lived with a disability all your life or may be coping with new challenges such as physical or mental conditions caused by a stroke or an accident. Perhaps you are living with heart disease or perhaps you have back problems so you can’t bend easily. You may have weak hands or only use one hand, perhaps you find walking difficult, or are losing your sight.
Whatever your disability, Thrive can help you find ways to start or continue gardening.
What information is on the Carry on Gardening website?
There is an introduction to this website in a section called About this website. Follow the link to find out more, but if you can’t find the information you need please contact us and we’ll be pleased to help. You can send us an email, telephone our National Office on 0118 988 5688, or write to Thrive, The Geoffrey Udall Centre, Beech Hill, Reading, Berkshire, RG7 2AT.
How can I find out about garden tools that might help me garden with my disability?
There is a comprehensive selection of gardening equipment and tools on this site which can make gardening easier and more enjoyable. All the equipment and tools featured are tried-and-tested to ensure that they are well-designed and reasonably easy to use.
You can look at all the equipment and tools in Equipment and tools to help you, and you can search for products using the Equipment and tool finder, which is show in the main section mentioned before or it is also shown in Ask Thrive
Can I buy the equipment and tools featured on the Carry on Gardening website from Thrive?
We don’t sell the equipment and tools but for each of the products featured on the site we give a link to the manufacturer’s website so you can get more information and contact them if you can’t find a stockist in your local area.
All the equipment and tools mentioned are available from good garden centres, from garden shopping websites, hardware stores, and in a few cases direct from the manufacturer.
How do you choose which tools and equipment to feature on the Carry on Gardening website?
Firstly, it’s important to clarify that we only feature products which we consider are useful to disabled gardeners.
We do not list general gardening products or services as there are many websites which already do a good job of providing this type of information.
We keep an eye on the gardening equipment and tools available on the market and visit key garden equipment trade exhibitions. We work closely with Fred Walden, who is a wheelchair user and expert on gardening and DIY equipment for disabled people. Fred helps us liaise with key garden equipment and tool manufacturers and tests the products for us. We also run advisory groups which are made up of Thrive staff and people with disabilities, and these groups input to the information and advice that we give.
I know of/manufacture/sell a garden tool that I think you should feature on Carry on Gardening – what should I do?
Firstly, send us an email or write to us with details and a photo of the equipment or tool that you think we should feature, but please don’t send a sample at this stage. We can then consider the product and discuss it with Fred Walden, who helps us evaluate and choose products for the site.
We will reply to you and if appropriate will ask you to send a sample of the product to Fred for testing. He considers the quality of the product, how it might be of benefit to disabled people and how it can be used in the garden. Samples are not usually returned unless you can make the necessary arrangements.
After testing a product, we will respond with Fred’s comments and if appropriate we will list the item on the website at the earliest opportunity.
I can’t find the information that I need from the Carry on Gardening website. What can I do?
Try looking at the site map. This gives you a clear outline of all the information on the website and it might help you find what you are looking for.
If you are looking for a particular tool or item of gardening equipment, try using the Equipment and tool finder
Or please contact us and we’ll be happy to help. You can send us an email, telephone our National Office on 0118 988 5688, or write to Thrive, The Geoffrey Udall Centre, Beech Hill, Reading, Berkshire, RG7 2AT.
How can I get involved and help Thrive?
There are many ways that you can help Thrive. We are constantly looking for funds, so any fundraising activity helps us enormously. We involve volunteers in our work both in the garden projects and at our National Office, so if you live local to Reading/Basingstoke in Berkshire, or near Battersea in London, give us a call on 0118 988 5688. We also welcome work groups of volunteers from companies and organisations at both locations.
Also, why not hire Thrive's meeting room? Thrive's national office is a modern building with a light and relaxing atmosphere in a rural setting between Reading and Basingstoke (Berkshire) in the village of Beech Hill. We have a meeting room with adjacent garden which is suitable for meetings, training courses and conferences, it is wheelchair accessible and accommodates up to 75 people. Find out more about hiring Thrive's meeting room
How can I contact someone at Carry on Gardening or Thrive?
You can send us an email, telephone our National Office on 0118 988 5688, or write to Thrive, The Geoffrey Udall Centre, Beech Hill, Reading, Berkshire, RG7 2AT.