The benefits of horticulture for mental health
Meet our CEO
He was medically discharged from the MOD in 2016, after he suffered a bilateral stroke caused by a hole in his heart. The stroke has left Jason with disabilities, both physical and cognitive. Jason was also diagnosed with PTSD and has been undergoing treatment.
Jason spent some time at Headley Court undergoing rehabilitation following his stroke. He found the only thing that seemed to have any impact on his mental wellness was gardening.
Andrew Fisher Tomlin is a Chartered Horticulturist and Fellow of the Society of Garden Designers. He is well known for the creation of gardens and parks in many countries including Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean and across Europe for which he won many awards. In recent years he has created gardens for Blind Veterans UK and BLESMA in Llandudno, London and Brighton as well as designing for the RAF100 celebration.
Andrew is also a Director of the London College of Garden Design based in the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, he is a passionate advocate for professional skills training, encouraging young talent and works with a number of organisations to promote education and careers in horticulture & design.
Kevin Bownes is also a Veteran, having served for 8 years in the Army with the Royal Corps of Signals. Kevin continued working in I.T. for a further 12 years as an IT Consultant and Computer Forensic Investigator.
When he became a Dad again, for the 3rd time, he decided to follow his passion of all things green and Horticultural and studied at Capel Manor College, Enfield and subsequently went on to study at the London College of Garden Design.
Kevin now enjoys working outdoors again helping clients create wonderful spaces, when he is not playing tennis, running half marathons, skiing down slopes or spending quality family time in nature.
Liam Thompson served with the Royal Marines for 6 years as a medic initially with 3 Commando Brigade In med squadron where he undertook arctic warfare training and then with 42 Commando where he saw active service with a tour of Northern Ireland in Crossmaglen.
Although his time in the forces was short, as a medic he got to see firsthand the physical and mental effects active service places on personnel. On leaving the armed forces he went to work as Senior Audiologist with the NHS and then went on to become a Research Audiologist with the Medical Research Council on the modernisation of hearing aid services in the UK.
He has since then held various senior positions within audiology with one of the major hearing aid manufacturers and worked in both private and charity sectors. He has a young family and enjoys walking and golf in his spare time.
Claire Vokins has had the privilege of working in various public and private sectors including aircraft engineering, homeless persons units, CMHT's and housing regeneration in London.
I changed career around 2012 due to what I now realise was a breakdown. I now have my own small gardening company and I love the horticultural industry.
My connection with the armed services comes from doing my work experience at RAF Odiham, and from there developing life long friendships with people who are now Veterans.
Veterans' Growth brings an opportunity to combine my past and current interests and skillsets to help an extremely worthy charity.