Growing people and plants

About Solstice

Solstice Nursery is based in a beautiful, peaceful location, Drumduan Walled Garden, off the South Deeside Road in Banchory Devenick on the outskirts of Aberdeen in the North East of Scotland.

Solstice is a Social Firm, providing a workplace where people recovering from mental illness can learn workplace skills and build their confidence.oWe grow quality shrubs, perennials, grasses and alpine plants at competitive wholesale prices, with many varieties of plants to choose from, you'll be sure to find something to suit your requirements. 

Our nursery staff and volunteers are experienced in Horticulture, enabling us to provide the participants with a solid foundation in horticulture, however, they have also worked for many years in the Mental Health Sector allowing us to combine our two passions of 'Growing People and Plants'.

Growing People

We provide training, qualifications and work experience for people with mental health issues with the aim of improving their health and well-being and to assist them in moving forward towards employment and/or work related activity.

Our training provides our participants with social skills, building confidence, communication skills, time keeping and team working, we also offer workshops in Manual Handling, Emergency First Aid and Health and Safety at Work.

Referrals are welcome from people resident in Aberdeen City or Aberdeenshire who meet the Councils’ criteria.  People living in Aberdeenshire can ask their social worker or their local Community Mental Health Team to refer them.  People living in Aberdeen City can ask their CPN, Social Worker, G.P., Jobcentre Plus Advisor or Support Worker from any relevant organisation.  Self-referrals are accepted if a professional is willing to provide the accompanying reference.

What happens next?

Telephone us to arrange a visit to site (we can assist with transport).  A referral can be made for acceptance by either the City or Shire Council at this point or following the introductory visit.  Start dates are confirmed after we have received acceptance from the relevant Council.   Most people are encouraged initially to attend 2 days per week.   We operate a 13 week trial period with regular reviews to ensure the placement is successful.

Participants start their day at 9.30 am and finish around 4.30pm with the usual tea/lunch breaks.  Tea and coffee is provided but a packed lunch is required.  We have kitchen facilities with a microwave and fridge.

There is a pick-up and drop off point on Leggart Terrace, Bridge of Dee for those who do not have transport

What we offer


Solstice provides work experience, training and learning opportunities and enhancement of wellbeing to all participants.  It supports development of skills for increased employability, work experience opportunities, management of mental health and promotes wellbeing.


On site Nursery operation – participants work in the Nursery and learn the full range of our plants, learning their names, taking cuttings, weeding, potting on and preparation of plants for the wholesale market.   On site working allows participants to rebuild confidence and gain a basic knowledge of plant care without undue pressure.  Opportunities to assist with wholesale selling and trade fairs will be offered to those participants who feel ready to take up these roles.


•       Good timekeeping and attendance         
•       Communication                                  
•       Interpersonal skills                              
•       Teamwork                                         
•       Planning your work                                     
•       Meeting deadlines
•       Personal presentation
•       Confidence building
•       Stress management


•       What can I do?
•       Understanding advertisements
•       Completing application forms
•       CV preparation
•       Interview techniques


•       Recovery Star
•       Personal goals
•       Mindfulness sessions
•       Support and advice on managing mental health
•       Support around healthy eating and healthy lifestyle


•       Special occasion lunches
•       Just because BBQ’s
•       Movie afternoons in the winter