Festina Lente is a not-for-profit organisation, providing a unique range of equestrian and horticultural activities, training, events and employment services options with strong emphasis on social inclusion, choice and personal development.
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a suitable candidate to join the Festina Lente’s Senior Management team as Head of Garden and Horticulture.
The Head of Garden and Horticulture will oversee the strategic and operational management of the grounds held by Festina Lente; this includes Walled Garden, Allotments, Garden Shop and the associated Horticultural activities. The Head of Garden and Horticulture will also be instrumental in the management and transition of a relocation for Festina Lente.


Job Title: Head of Garden and Horticulture

Contract: Permanent, Full-Time

Location: Old Connaught Ave, Old Connaught, Bray, Co. Wicklow, A98 F702

Walled Garden Overview

Over the years the Walled Garden, as a Social Enterprise, has evolved and developed providing four distinct but interrelated services:
 Walled Garden as an Amenity Facility
 Recreational and therapeutic horticultural garden spaces for visitors
 Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH)
 Educational, therapeutic and learning workshops and programmes through the development of the social and therapeutic horticulture
 Allotments
 Provision of 95 individual and community allotments to diverse groups of people
 Garden Shop
 Retail outlet for visitors and allotment holders
The key activities provided by the Walled Garden include:
 Management of the Walled Garden as an amenity facility
 Educational, therapeutic and learning workshops and programmes through the social and therapeutic horticulture (The successful candidate will work closely with the Chief Executive Officer and STH Facilitators in the development of STH programmes and will not initially be expected to assume full responsibility for this)
 Management of the 95 allotments
 Management of the retail outlet

Role and Purpose

The purpose of this position is to manage the Walled Garden as a Community Service Programme /Social Enterprise.
The main objectives of this programme are to:
 Promote social enterprise as an approach to alleviating disadvantage and addressing local social, economic and environmental needs which are not being met through public or private funding or other resources.
 Create sustainable jobs for those most distant from the labour market, in particular for those who are long term unemployed and from specific target groups.
 Promote sustainable social and economic development.
 Enable service providers to lever additional public investment to improve facilities and services
 Strengthen local ownership through participation in decision-making.
 Support social innovation and encourage sharing of learning and expertise between participating service providers


As a Social Enterprise that will be relocating to a purpose built and larger facility by 2024, you will also be responsible for:

 The development of relationships with key stakeholders e.g. education providers, volunteering agencies, schools, community groups etc.,
 Working with the CEO, Deputy CE and Financial Controller in the development of grant applications and potential funding possibilities
 Working with the Manager of the Equestrian Learning Center and Training and Day Services in the sharing of resources as they best meet the needs of the various service-users and students
 This role is also part of the management team along with the existing two managers, the whole team are also responsible for the overall change management that is needed right now and as we move to Bellfield.
 A key part of this role will also be the strategic planning for the move to Belfield House in line with the organisations commitment to its development as a Centre of Excellence aimed at providing well-being programmes through the medium of equestrianism and social and therapeutic horticulture.

Key priorities year one:

This expanded role will play a vital role to Festina Lente’s vision for the future

We see priorities in Year One as being about:
 Developing a 1, 2 and 3 year Business Plan for the Walled Garden
 Working closely with staff, managers and stakeholders in researching best practice case studies of sensory gardens

Key Responsibilities:
Hold responsibility for staff and volunteers working and volunteering within the Walled Garden
The development of a horticultural calendar
Development, implementation and review of annual budgets
Promotion of a sustainable horticultural environment
Promote the Festina Lente ethos – identifying synergies between programmes ran at Festina Lente

The successful candidate will be expected to have:
 Strong horticultural knowledge and experience supported by appropriate qualifications to degree level and/or masters level
 Ability to act as a team player, open to learning and working as part of a diverse team
 Minimum of 5 years’ experience of managing horticultural services / business’s in a similar environment and ideally as a social enterprise
 Proven experience of managing sustainable practices
 Experience of organising garden activities which enhance garden visits
 Ability to develop and communicate an inspirational vision
 High expectations of self and others
 Outstanding communication, service and people skills
 Skilled in the management of people and budgets
 Experience of project planning and delivery
 Competent IT skills, including Microsoft Office
 Leadership skills including coaching, team development, motivation, and communication.
 Experience of working with volunteers and an understanding of the different approach needed to reward, recognise, and motivate volunteers.
 Good people skills enabling strong relationships to be built and maintained, externally and internally
 Knowledge and experience of how to assess and manage risk effectively and all Health & Safety and Compliance requirements relevant to horticulture
 Knowledge and experience of promoting safety in the workplace beyond the more traditionally understood meanings e.g. providing a defined space where community and teamwork can flourish

The following experience is an advantage
 Experience of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture
 Experience in the design of Sensory Gardens
 Experience of working with people affected by socio economic disadvantage and /or disability
 Experience of working in a Pobal supported Community Service Programme
This job description will be reviewed every six months in the context of the strategic planning that will be taking place in preparation for the move to a new location.

Please forward your CV to Recruitment@festinalente.ie

Closing date for applications is 21st January 2022.