Our Work

‘What is Social and Therapeutic Horticulture?’

Research shows that time spent in nature can alleviate feelings of low mood and anxiety, and can also increase social confidence and connectivity, while physical exercise releases endorphins, increasing feelings of wellbeing. These effects are even greater when taking place alongside other people.

At Growing People, gardeners (that’s what we call our service users)  work side-by-side with volunteers and therapists to plant vegetables, build raised beds, harvest fruit…anything one can imagine getting up to in a garden! The activities vary to suit a range of different goals and therapeutic needs.

How It Works

Our gardeners come along once a week for ½ a day of group sessions (currently run on Monday and Tuesday mornings and afternoons), and take part in a range of activities, often in a group – like planning and planting up a new bed, propagating plants for our herb nursery, digging in compost or harvesting vegetables. Perhaps most important of all, they chat, spend time together, talking about gardening, the weather, the wildlife, worries and hopes.

All sessions are for up to seven people and are run by fully qualified horticultural therapists and supported by trained volunteers.

The gardening and/or craft activity is tailored and adapted to each person's individual needs inclusive of flexibility and choice. Overall, the Horticultural Therapy process aims to help people to live well with their mental health condition.

Gardening can be adapted to suit people with a wide range of physical abilities, making horticultural therapy a great option for people with complex conditions.

Typical benefits from attending Growing People include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Increased physical exercise
  • Confidence and
  • Reduced isolation

Participants also learn new skills and enjoy the benefit of being in a peaceful and natural environment.

The garden environment also has the benefit of being more informal than most therapy settings, meaning that it’s often easier for people to express their thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t feel “clinical” coming to Growing People, and this can often make it more comfortable for people to talk about their mental health if they wish to – with other people who understand them and share their experiences.

Surprisingly enough, it’s sometimes easier to talk about difficult and complex issues elbow-deep in compost or cabbages….

Social and therapeutic horticulture for wellbeing and positive mental health

Growing People

The Sadie Centre

Rosehill Hospital

Hitchin Road

Letchworth

SG6 3NA

 

Charity Registration No. 295219

Contact Us:

Tel: 07794 347283
Email: enquiries@growing-people.org.uk

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