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Learn new gardening skills and enjoy green therapy with BCHA this August

BCHA’s popular introduction to gardening course will commence on 4 August at New Leaf Allotment, Muscliffe Lane, BH9 3NJ. 

The Level 1 Award in Horticulture is accredited by the National Open College Network and is ideal for anyone wishing to pursue a career in horticulture. The course is run by New Leaf, part of BCHA’s Employability and Skills Service, and will be delivered by a highly experienced tutor, Miles Mahoney, who is also the allotment co-ordinator.

Enrolment on the course, which is free to anyone over 19, unemployed and resident in Dorset, will be taking place on 28 or 29 July at New Leaf Allotment. Please allow approximately two hours to enrol. Applicants should be aware that 50% of travel costs can be reimbursed.

No previous qualifications are required to join the course.

During the three-week course, learners will cover a range of topics including:

  • keeping safe while gardening
  • making the most of soil,
  • plant selection
  • plant propagation

The course gives learners the opportunity to progress to:

  • Higher level horticulture related qualifications
  • Apprenticeships
  • Employment in this field

In addition to learning new skills, BCHA’s horticulture course offers multiple holistic benefits to course participants, such as building confidence and self-esteem. Connecting with nature has already been shown to improve mental health and experiencing fresh air and new physical experiences, while being supported in learning, is in itself an effective form of green therapy that is beneficial to a person’s wellbeing.

Participants can rest assured that all measures will be taken to ensure that the 2.2 acre site is COVID compliant. Social distancing measures will be observed and PPE provided.

Group sizes will be limited to nine learners and places will be offered on a first come first served basis.

A new course will be starting each month, so if the August course is oversubscribed, there will not be long to wait until the next one.

The course takes place on a Tuesday and Wednesday, from 10am to 2.30pm. More information about the course can be found on the BCHA website.

Allotment Coordinator Miles Mahoney said:

“Our Level 1 Horticulture course is very popular for several reasons. Firstly, it’s a great beginners course, instilling our learners with the confidence to get gardening, whether they are a hobbyist or looking for a career in horticulture. If they are on the career path, then this course is a great stepping stone as participants will work towards a nationally recognised NOCN. In just six days we cover a variety of topics, that will enlighten and inspire the inner gardener. On successful completion of the course, learners will gain an NOCN level 1 Award in Horticulture.”

How to sign up to the course

Anyone who is aged 19 and over, unemployed and a Dorset resident can self-refer and apply to join the course.

BCHA also welcomes referrals from any organisations who are supporting someone who is aged 19 or over, unemployed and living in Dorset.

The referral form can be used by both individuals and organisations, and can be completed several ways:

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