About Us

TWIGS - a potted history

TWIGS (Therapeutic Work In Gardening in Swindon) came into being in November 1997.  It was formed by a local lady who realised the therapeutic benefits that working with nature could bring to those experiencing mental health problems.  At first, TWIGS operated from the old Swindon Borough Council (SBC) Amenity Horticulture buildings (where the Manor Garden Centre now stands) and volunteers provided gardening and craft activities for around eight people.

The Amenity site closed and the land was then leased to the Manor Garden Centre.  SBC began to build a purpose built unit for the use of community groups in 1998 and allocated the area that has become TWIGS Community Gardens for Community groups.  At this time, this included TWIGS, wildFlowers and Butterflies (FAB) and Swindon and District Beekeepers.

In early summer 1999 TWIGS began operating from the current building, opposite the summer house.  Volunteers, service users and staff began the task of bringing the neglected area that is now the Garden site back under control.  Operating alongside the Gardens, TWIGS has always been fortunate to have an inspirational and thriving craft studio plus an enterprising woodcraft department.  Focusing on the creative process as a key ingredient within the recovery journey, many wonderful pieces are produced, often from recycled materials.  You will be able to see several of these displayed throughout the Gardens and items are also available to purchase.  Six staff and around 20 volunteers deliver the service.  Funding has come from many sources, predominantly SBC, SPCT, the Big Lottery and Zurich.

If you feel that participating in the therapeutic activities at TWIGS could be beneficial for your mental health then please fill in this referral form and send it back to us using the details at the bottom of the page. Here is some more information about criteria for referrals. We will then respond via email or in writing within 7 days.

The Haven is at the far end of the site and is managed by FAB (wildFlowers and Butterflies).  This area has been filled with local native plants and tended since 1995, it is a delightful succession of colour and insect life.

TWIGS is affiliated to THRIVE, the National Society for Horticultural Therapy and became one of ten regional Quality Champions to help promote the quality assurance scheme "Cultivating Quality".

In March 2011 TWIGS, in partnership with Friends of Twigs (FOT our invaluable volunteer led fundraising arm) took on the running of the cafe at the Manor Garden Centre and it was re-branded "the Olive Tree Cafe". This volunteering opportunity has already provided many people with new skills and experience as well as fostering increased confidence and self-esteem - two crucial development outcomes our service can provide.

TWIGS now provides places for up to 100 people.  People have the opportunity to work on projects across Swindon, linking us with the wider community.  The Garden Site is ever changing, as is our dedicated and skilled team of people who contribute to this special place, thank you for supporting our work - your help is much appreciated.

Visitor Comments

TWIGS to me is the most beautiful garden in Swindon! Stunning, inspiring and uplifting