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Gardening or eco-therapist support worker

Northampton Hope Centre
Hope growing project, Kingsthorpe Northampton

Posted: 24/07/2020

Deadline: 06/09/2020

Compensation: £12.40 an hour, pro-rata to up to £23k per annum

Paid Part-time Flexible hours Fixed term / contract

Job description

Job Description

Conditions of Work

  • Hours: sessional, normally up to 15-18 hours per week
  • Salary: pro rata to annual full time salary of £23000, eg max hourly rate c£12.40
  • Six months contract initially
  • Accountable to: Gardener and CEO
  • Responsible for: Mental health service users and client volunteers in the Garden alongside Head Gardener

About the Role

The Ecotherapy Worker position is an opportunity to provide support for individuals within a mental wellbeing project that uses nature – based interventions.

The role of the Ecotherapy Worker will be to take the lead responsibility for promoting and developing mental and physical wellbeing by supporting people with lived experience of mental health problems to be active outdoors doing gardening, food growing, and other activities in nature.

The Ecotherapy Worker will work closely with the Head Gardener and CEO in overseeing activities in the Garden, including planning gardening tasks and running our twice-weekly therapeutic gardening sessions with a particular emphasis on creating and developing a healing and a welcoming place for all. You will also have delegated responsibility from the CEO and Head Gardener for the longer-term management and development of the site.

You will run our service users recruitment programme which will include developing partnerships and liaising with local organisations in the public and third sector to attract new service users to the Garden each year. The role also includes completing monitoring and evaluation requirements, examining and tracking our success in improving mental health and wellbeing of our service users. One key part of this role will be the onsite management of our team of volunteers who work with our clients with lived experience of mental health problems. Your role will include overseeing volunteers on site.  

The successful candidate will be required to undertake an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check and undergo safeguarding training. We particularly welcome candidates with an interest in or experience of natural and holistic therapies.

Main Tasks

  • Work with mental health service users in the garden during our twice-weekly therapeutic gardening sessions, coordinating tasks and projects. You will run our twice-weekly therapeutic gardening sessions  in our garden in. This will involve planning gardening tasks in consultation with Head Gardener on a daily and long term basis. You will allocate the tasks to the service users, pair them with the buddies on site and supervise the activities on the day. You will be responsible for ensuring that the day to day service will be of a high quality and standard.
  • Liaise with referrers and recruit new service users. You will lead on new service users recruitment programme, liaising with our existing referrers, and developing links with local statutory, voluntary, community and mental health services. You will plan and implement the recruitment strategy in a timely manner so the charity meets its funders’ requirements of including the specific number of individuals in our therapeutic programme each year. That task will require proactive approach such as visiting partnership organisations, giving presentations and collaboration in preparing info materials for the referrers.
  • Supervise ‘buddy’ volunteers on site. You will manage and supervise buddy volunteers which includes arranging the rota, providing feedback and support.  
  • Complete relevant monitoring and evaluation - You will take a lead in collecting our monitoring and evaluation requirements. You will ensure that monitoring data is collected on time and in appropriate format.

Ecotherapy Worker Person Specification

The successful candidate will demonstrate the following:


  • At least 1 year experience of working with people with mental health or related issues in a community and/or formal context. We welcome the candidates who can demonstrate relevant experience or transferrable skills of supporting people with high support needs.
  • Experience of providing one-to-one support for people with a range of needs and abilities, including high support needs due to mental health disorders or learning disabilities
  • Experience of maintaining regular monitoring and evaluation systems
  • At least 1 year experience of working with volunteers and supporting their learning and development
  • Experience of giving group presentations and/or running training for groups
  • Experience of building and developing partnerships with statutory and voluntary organisations and services.
  • Experience of networking with diverse communities, including with people from BME communities, and an understanding of, and commitment to, implementing equal opportunities.


  • Good knowledge of gardening and conservation.
  • Knowledge of statutory and voluntary mental health and community services and referral pathways.
  • Good understanding of befriending or similar projects involving volunteers - how they work, common pitfalls, how to develop them over time.
  • Understanding of safeguarding and of risk assessment and management, both in terms of practical outdoor work and of working with mental health service users.
  • Good knowledge of what goes into building a supportive and rewarding volunteering project.
  • An interest in and knowledge of complementary, holistic therapies is desirable.
  • An ecotherapy qualification is desirable but not essential

Skills and Abilities:

  • Good oral and written communication skills, including group decision-making, negotiation and networking.
  • Ability to plan the workload independently, setting goals and monitoring the progress of work.
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines in fast paced environment.
  • Resilience and ability to adapt to changing working environment.
  • Ability to enjoy the process of developing an exciting project, and to work confidently and flexibly through challenging periods of development.
  • Ability to work in a small team.
  • Ability to maintain professional attitude and boundaries in working with project users, council, stakeholders, and management committee.
  • Computer literate with an ability to use Microsoft Office, email and social media.

Other Characteristics:

  • Commitment to the multiple aims and the values underpinning Hope Gardening.

Application Process:

Your application for the position of Ecotherapy Worker at Hope Gardening includes:

1) A cover letter which details, with examples, how you meet the Person Specification. We cannot give you credit for assumed of implied skills, so please be specific. Please keep to 2 sides A4 maximum.

2) Your detailed and up-to-date CV.

Application information

By sending a CV and two page statement about your relevant experience and why we should employ you, to

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About Northampton Hope Centre

Long established anti-poverty charity, special focus on homelessness and food poverty. Lots of support to homeless people, including day centre, help to get work and skills; run various food aid projects, suppy numerous other foodbanks with food, some of which we grow at our own allotments (0.5 acre) whre we also offer therapeutic gardening, training in horticulture, work experience, corporate team building and teach veg growing. Also produce recycled garden tools