THIS is The Horticulture Industry Scheme
a not-for-profit social enterprise. We are based in Thetford and work with former offenders, those at risk of offending and people who have experienced homelessness.
THIS provides grounds and garden maintenance services in the area local to Thetford, mostly for local businesses but also for private homes. We undertake all types of maintenance work and have done a lot of work on a local Historic England site.
Growing opportunities …
Our workforce is made up of local ex-offenders and people considered to be at risk of offending. THIS is dedicated to giving them valuable training and employment opportunities. We offer support to our participants in all the areas that could affect their ability to maintain a job, referring to other organisations if needed.
- Housing advice
- Opening bank accounts
- Substance misuse
- Financial difficulties and family relationships
THIS aims to improve each individual’s chances of finding work by providing opportunities to contribute to their local community and demonstrate to the workforce, their families and society that past mistakes do not have to seal their futures. Our vision is that ex-offenders will find a place they can contribute and feel safe in society.
Horticulture has long been associated with personal growth and well being. It is our belief that growth is a steady process that takes dedication.
Do get in touch
THIS has been funded by the Peter Sowerby Foundation, Hopestead and Awards for All to provide gardening support to people who are struggling to manage their gardens themselves because of, for example, underlying health conditions (including mental health challenges); people recovering from surgery or serious illness; key workers who are exhausted; and people with additional learning or physical support needs. We will bring a team into the garden and spend a day tidying, clearing weeding, pruning … whatever needs doing. Thanks to our funders, this service is free of charge.
Businesses and Factories
THIS undertakes grounds maintenance for businesses and factories in Thetford, Bury St. Edmunds and the surrounding areas.
We do grounds clearance, grass mowing, strimming, slab laying, tidying, weeding, litter picking, spraying (PA1 and PA6 qualified).
THIS historical renovation work
THIS has carried out a lot of work at the Gorse Industrial Estate, a Historic England site in Suffolk.
In the 1950s the site housed Britain’s first atomic bomb, code named Blue Danube. Under the supervision of Keith Eldred, we have been clearing the banks which surround the massive concrete buildings which were used to store and maintain the bombs. We have really enjoyed this work and would love to take on more historic renovation work.
We welcome applications for work placements and volunteers.
Co-founder and CEO
Co-founder and CEO: Georgina has been working with former offenders since 1997. For many years she worked as project manager for the Foundation Training Company (FTC), both in prisons and for their community project in Hackney. She went onto work for the London Borough of Newham doing intensive outreach work with people newly released from prison and their families. She joined Herts Young Homeless, then worked for the Prison Reform Trust, a campaigning organisation, in their advice and information team. She left that role to set up THIS with her former colleague, Tim Melvin. Georgina has a BA and an MA, both from the University of East Anglia, and a teaching qualification. She is a fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs.
Co-founder and General Manager
Co-founder and General Manager: Tim worked for the Foundation Training Company, working in prisoner resettlement and then project managing at HMP Edmunds Hill. He joined Nacro where his focus was on securing suitable and sustainable accommodation, along with employment, training and education support for prisoners for prisoners’ release. He became cluster manager, directly managing the housing and employment, training and education teams in several East Anglian prisons. He worked as a taxi driver whilst setting up THIS, before starting to work in prisons he was (to name just a few) a fork lift driver, ice cream man, antique dealer, traveller, research and development chemist and worked on building sites
Special Advisor to the Board
Ricky was previously employed by THIS as a gardener. From THIS, he progressed into full-time employment, finding work as an HGV driver. As someone with lived experience of the criminal justice system who had the motivation to turn his life around, he brings a wealth of personal experience and wisdom to the organisation and its participants.
Sharon was originally Georgina’s mentor on the School for Social Entrepreneur’s Trade Up Course and the whole THIS team found her knowledge and experience so valuable, she was invited to join the Board and we were delighted she did! Sharon is Head of Sourcing, Retail and ITO at Lloyds Bank and brings a wealth of commercial experience.
Robin is a journalist, travel writer and teacher. He currently lives in Georgia and, having lived in various countries in Eastern and Central Europe, he has a good understanding of these cultures and languages which is very helpful to THIS. He previously set up an arts website for Eastern Europeans living in London so also has good knowledge of the social enterprise world.
Donate to THIS
Eventually we plan to be self sustaining as a realistic business model. It is our belief social enterprises will be a big part of the business landscape in the years to come. We can compete with established business models and add a significant element of benefit to communities and excluded groups.
Our supporters and friends
We are immensely grateful to the following for their support