Thistles Market Garden is a venue for adults with a
learning disability that provides daily purposeful
activities in horticulture, in order to encourage skills
and development and to promote social inclusion
Thistles is based on an acre of land, 8 miles south of the
market town of Boston, situated just on the outskirts of
the pretty village of Sutterton.
The village is served by a regular bus service from both
Boston and Spalding.
Thistles was first established in 2002 under the umbrella
of Lincolnshire County Council and Social Services.
Thistles has been operating as an independent co-
operative social enterprise since 2015.
At Thistles we aim to cater to everyone’s individuality.
The group that we support are able to work within their
own ability and are encouraged to develop their skills
through the various activities
that we do.
All of our work related activities
are thoroughly risk assessed
considering all aspects of
health and safety and the
abilities of the individual. We
aim to protect everyone against
hazards without restricting their opportunities.
In order to achieve this aim we adhere to certain stand-
ards such as maintaining up to date training and
following and regularly reviewing policies that are in
One way that we strive to provide the group at Thistles
with the best possible service is by means of person cen-
tred planning. Through the use of effective
communication, the people that we support have
ownership over how their social care is delivered. As well
as holding yearly reviews, we also have regular meetings
with the group to encourage them to express their
opinion on the day-to-day running of the market garden
and to involve them in decision making.
Achieving Positive Outcomes
1. We use horticulture as a therapy and tool for
Improves physical health
Gaining skills and knowledge in horticulture.
Purposeful work-related experience Having
fun and feeling secure.
2. The people that we support have active
involvement in the running of the market
Sense of responsibility and belonging
Involved in decision making and a sense that
their input is valued
Promotes independence and self-confidence
Managed risk taking
3. Person centred planning
Access to Voiceability (advocacy service)
Gives the people that we support control of
4. Workers’ Education Association (WEA)
Speaking, listening, reading and writing skills
Encourages the people that we support to
express their aspirations
5. Boston College
6. Boston in Bloom
Integrating with the local community
Feeling of acknowledgment
Experiencing being a part of a high profile and
7. Lincolnshire Police
Partnership working & funding support
Facilities at Thistles
Classroom with disabled access
Container storing tools
Patio Eating Area
Activities at Thistles
People who attend Thistles are
taught how to sow seeds, prick
out seedlings and plant out.
They learn about the different
varieties and germination times
of plants, flowers, fruit and
vegetables and how to harvest
crops. This teaching is done
through both hands on practical
work related experience (on the
land and in the poly tunnels)
and learning in a laid back
It is arranged that the group
are given the opportunity to
be supported on a trip into
the town centre, where they
are able to select the seeds
that they wish to grow at
All of the people that we support
play a part in the running of the
market garden which enhances
the concept of team work.
Everyone has the opportunity to
not only grow, but to prepare and
sell the produce from seed to
sale. This entails preparing
bedding plants and hanging
baskets and meeting and
greeting the local public who
come in to buy the produce grown by the
people that we support.
Development - Since 2015, additional and improved
facilities have included:
A further poly tunnel
Thistles own mini bus
A new building which includes an office, kitchen and
toilets, incorporating a sponsored modern eco
heating and lighting system.
© 2023 Thistles Market Garden Site sponsor: John Marshall