Richard Brown's Story
Richard Brown is a Horticultural Therapist from South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SWYT), working at a learning disability service in Wakefield – the Horizon Centre.
Richard's Fellowship took him to Ontario, Canada, and Michigan, Chicago and Minnesota in the USA, to explore the use of horticultural therapy as a medicinal treatment. 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. Richard’s role at SWYT involves using the practice of gardening as therapy to improve both physical and mental wellbeing.
During his Fellowship Richard visited the Chicago Botanic Garden, a world leader in the professional education and delivery of horticultural therapy; the Royal Botanical Gardens in Ontario, Canada and the Detroit Urban Farms. Richard also attended the 40th annual American Horticultural Therapy Conference in Minneapolis to meet and learn from world leaders in the profession.
Since his Fellowship, Richard has been working to raise the profile of the Horizon Centre as a multi-disciplinary specialist service.
“This was 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 continue to progress its use across the Trust.”
Richard’s report has generated interest in the UK, Sweden, Canada, the USA and Australia. His report has been used as evidence for a new health care facility in North Carolina to include a horticultural therapy unit as well as being part of a submission for accreditation status by the Michigan Horticultural Therapy Association. A service in Ontario has used the report to demonstrate outcomes of using horticulture as a treatment. An article on the Fellowship is due to be published by Thrive, the UK’s leading horticultural therapy charity, in their journal ‘Growth Point’.