Do you have a passion for working outdoors and have a belief in the healing properties of natural settings/environments? The PDDSTH is leading the way in understanding how gardening and outdoor spaces can change lives, improve well-being and reduce social isolation.
Social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) involves the use of natural settings and plants by expert practitioners in order to meet clinically defined goals for groups or individuals. STH is particularly relevant for the promotion of independence, health and well-being among groups and communities of vulnerable people. (Marcus and Sachs 2014; Sempik et al 2010).
The PDDSTH programme aims to educate anyone offering horticultural type activities with the knowledge and practical skills required to support the development of nature-based programmes/schemes that can help individuals and communities who may be vulnerable, isolated or living with disabilities.
The Professional Development Diploma Social and Therapeutic Horticulture is offered on a part time basis. It is delivered in a flexible learning format, comprising independent studies, online resources to be completed at home or in the workplace and workshop blocks based across the academic settings.
This course is designed to facilitate and enable the development of your professional skills in the use of STH and to increase your self-management skills. These skills should enable you to fulfil the challenges of providing health and social in a variety of different settings. For the therapeutic potential of horticulture to be fully realised, the STH practitioner must often be responsible for service development, monitor quality and review current practice. This programme is designed to assist the students to acquire not only therapeutic skills but also management skills.
We will cover a range of topics ranging from theory and practice skills, how to develop a STH project, Horticultural Skills and Planning and Designing STH (out at Pershore College) and how to manage an STH project. Overall the teaching and learning strategy seeks to assist students in their developmental journey and enable them to develop their professional skills, personal capabilities and be critically reflective in their own work setting, to recognise their own development needs and the development needs of the service or sector within which they work. In addition, the Course Team has designed the programme to promote active learning and enable students with differing learning styles to engage positively in their studies and apply their new knowledge to their own practice and work-base.
Why choose this course?
Coventry University’s STH programmes are well regarded in the field and are actively supported by students, alumni, practitioners and service users along with the emerging Association of Social and Therapeutic Practitioners.
We have been educating STH practitioners at Coventry for over 25 years and have attracted a diverse range of students including occupational therapists, social workers, nurses, psychologists, horticulturalists and others from a variety of backgrounds and expertise. Students come from across the UK and internationally. Members of our teaching staff are qualified occupational therapists and have many years’ professional interest, knowledge and experience in the field of social and therapeutic horticulture.
We have exceptionally high levels of student satisfaction with 100% of students saying that we are passionate and enthusiastic in what we teach. Occupational therapy at Coventry was recently rated 4th in the UK out of 26 schools and the university was rated top modern university in 2017.
We benefit from strong partnerships with local statutory agencies and organisations in the voluntary and independent sectors, including Coventry City Council, The Circles Charity, Rugby, Arden Cancer Centre (Walsgrave) and the Spirituality & Faith Centre (Coventry University). Access to their sites has enabled STH students to develop garden plans that are appropriate to a range of real client groups.
These well-established links also enable us to provide site visits and guest speakers to our programmes that help ensure that our teaching is contemporary and embedded in the real world.
The content of the STH programmes reflect current governmental priorities with regard to promoting sustainable development, settings-based healthcare, health-promoting hospitals, universities and schools and public health, community-based practice and community development.
International experience opportunities
Health and social care is undergoing unprecedented change in the UK and globally. However, the challenges faced by STH practitioners can also create potential opportunities particularly in this current climate where sustainable practice and environments are key considerations in conjunction with the promotion of health and wellbeing.
It is anticipated that a significant proportion of candidates will already be engaged within work settings. However, from feedback from previous students it is expected that the programme will increase individual employment opportunities in social and therapeutic horticulture, improve career prospects through promotion, increase areas of responsibility and enable students to assist employers with research opportunities.