Cherry Tree Nursery

A charity based on horticulture providing meaningful occupation in a supportive
environment, aiming to restore well-being to people with mental illness.
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Monday to Friday (all year)
8.00am to 3.30pm

Saturdays and Sundays

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Our Services

Although it is primarily a sheltered work project, Cherry Tree is much more than just a place to work.  It aims to provide a happy, loving family community, where people are actively encouraged to care for and support each other.

Cherry Tree is unique in offering a service addressing the needs of the whole person, in addition to therapeutic and varied work rehabilitation.  The most essential service we provide is a twice-weekly visit from a specialist Disability Rights Advisor, provided by the local Citizens’ Advice Bureau.  She provides help with filling in forms and accessing benefits, information on entitlements, and advice on a wide range of issues ranging from housing and debt to information on employment.  No one is able to think about working if they are homeless or have no money, so this service underpins all we do, and is integral to the service we provide.

Cherry Tree also offers many additional services, including:

  • Accompaniment to essential appointments in a crisis
  • Opportunity to help, support and care for others
  • Sessions with Disability Employment Adviser
  • Advice and help with finding and starting training courses
  • Referral to specialist services where required
  • Help with obtaining accommodation, furniture and clothing
  • Help with moving into new accommodation
  • Support and advice with problems, on site or by telephone
  • Help for those who are, or are likely to become, homeless
  • A washing machine, drier and shower room on site
  • Special funding to cover emergency transport
  • Presentations from other services and support networks
  • Help with joining courses, and a bursary to help with fees
  • Debt and budgeting support
  • Healthy eating and cooking on a budget support

Cherry Tree organises a variety of visits and events throughout the year to give volunteers the opportunity to socialise and see more of the world.  For many of the volunteers it is the only opportunity they have to experience such visits.  They have been to places from the Tower of London to the Great Dorset Steam Fair.


The annual Harry Roffey Day outing, held in memory of a former trustee, has taken them to gardens including Kew Gardens, RHS Wisley and Forde Abbey.  Other trips involve activities such as bird watching, learning about herbs, or boat trips.

As the years go by, we are finding fewer volunteers want to go on the trips and outings, many preferring to stay in the safe haven of the nursery.  So we are having occasional communal eating events – such as hot soup lunches in winter, an annual barbecue in the summer – which everyone can enjoy and meet and socialise with new people.

Those volunteers who wish to have the opportunity to show the nursery to others offer guided tours to the many visitors who come from far and wide to learn about what we do.

There have also been a selection of Cherry Tree holidays involving camping, or staying in caravans or hostels.  There have been organised visits to the Eden Project and the National Botanical Garden of Wales, and an annual caravan holiday is organised for volunteers.  Many volunteers have never had a holiday before, and going away together builds the confidence and strength of the group and helps overcome obstacles in their lives such as fear and anxiety.


As friendships develop and confidence grows, volunteers start organizing their own trips together, going to the cinema, meeting for coffee, things they would never have done before.  It gives them the opportunity to realise that they do not need to be isolated by their mental illness, and that there is a place for them in the world.

Volunteers are offered many opportunities to learn new skills and develop new interests through doing courses.  Weekly classes are held in Literacy, Numeracy and English with the use of Computers.  Every winter a fascinating selection of Horticultural courses are on offer, which from time to time the general public are also offered the opportunity to enjoy.  This also helps to fund further courses for our volunteers.  We have an annual herbal workshop and courses in basic cookery, eating on a budget, and healthy eating for beginners and improvers.

Some volunteers gain the confidence to attend college courses outside the nursery and over the years a wide range of topics have been studied and qualifications gained.  Many volunteers have not had the opportunity to study in the past, and these courses can open up new horizons for them.

The Potathon continues

For 20 years this was a very special event held in May when everyone worked together in teams to pot 20,000 plants in 2 litre pots in one day or 30,000 in 2 days.  This united us all with a common goal and provided the nursery with fresh, new stock.  The event took a great deal of preparation and hard work, from grading the plants to printing the pot labels and organising the drinks and sandwiches.  Everyone went home at the end of the day tired, but very happy and satisfied.

In recent years, pressure to produce early stock has resulted in us having to tone down this event.  We now have smaller sessions, for example potting 4,000 Griselinia littoralis in one go.  This keeps up the collective working atmosphere while not delaying production.


‘There is a wonderful atmosphere, as people work as hard as possible whatever the weather, and a great sense of achievement, as the day gives everyone the opportunity to show what they can do, working together and making new friends’





Referral Procedure

Cherry Tree Nursery
Off New Road Roundabout
Northbourne, Bournemouth
Dorset, BH10 7DA
Tel: 01202-593537
Registered Charity No 900325
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