The charity welcomed students back on Monday, November 30 and says the difference in their mental wellbeing has been ‘overwhelming’.
Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for Horticap, with a number of operations - including selling Christmas trees and making wreaths - taking place.
Students have already been out helping with deliveries and ensuring festive displays are ready to go.
Phil Airey, Assistant Manager, said: “It has been such an exciting time for us and we are so pleased to welcome them back.
“This has been such a massive lift for us all here and given us such a boost.
“Horticap doesn’t exist without our students, they bring it to life.”
This week was also the first time the students had seen the new cafe building, which was erected during lockdown and is set to open in the new year.
“All the students got a guided tour of the new building and they were so excited and so proud to see all the hard work,” Phil said.
“It’s just so amazing for us all to have them back because we think the world of them. They make it a better place.”
And as the organisation ramps up its Christmas operation, we are asking people to show their support as part of our Give a Little Kindness campaign.
Horticap says the support from customers so far has been ‘fabulous’ but is hoping it will continue over the festive season .
It has already been a very difficult year for charities, but Horticap says a strong December could boost it through to February and would be a lifeline.
Phil added: “We are really pleased with how understanding and supportive our customers have been, we just need it to continue now.
“We could really do with a new year boost and we hope the public can help us.
“Of course our operations are slightly different this year, as we can’t unwrap the trees on site because we need to make sure everything is Covid secure, and while some people are disappointed they don’t get to see their tree beforehand, the vast majority don’t mind.
“Our operation has massively grown this year though and we want to keep that up.
“Before we were delivering maybe 20 trees a week, whereas now it is more like 30 a day.”
Customers are now encouraged to order their Christmas tree online if possible, but a physical service is still operating and the garden centre is still open to the public.
To order a tree or support the charity, visit www.horticap.org or call the team on 01423 522876.