Down to earth

Chris Stokel-Walker visits a project that helps soldiers adjust to life back home

Tucked away in a small room in the stable houses at Saltwell Park, a 55-acre expanse in the middle of Gateshead, is the office of Thrive, a charity established in the 1970s that aims to use gardening to change lives. The office is a welcome warm haven from the bitter winds that whip through the park, sending the rabbits in the nearby pets’ corner rushing for cover from the elements – but it’s pokey nonetheless.

A pair of desks sit face-to-face, with assorted papers piled up on any spare surfaces. Tucked behind one desk, peering around a computer monitor and pressed up against the wall is Chris Tait, the charity’s regional manager.

“It’s not just gardening,” he’s keen to insist. “ The gardening is just a way of bringing people together.”


Read the full version in The Northern Correspondent #6