Connect with your community

Started by Growing Support Feb 7. 0 Replies

Older people living in care are twice as likely to experience loneliness as those in the community.We are looking for friendly volunteers with an interest in helping others to gardening, to support…Continue

Tags: #givingback, #gardening, #volunteer

Can You Help Combat Loneliness?

Started by Growing Support Nov 29, 2017. 0 Replies

Growing Support are looking for friendly volunteers with interests in gardening and supporting people, to help older people and people with dementia take part in gardening activities.  You will…Continue

Join our volunteers!

Started by Growing Support Aug 17, 2017. 0 Replies

We're looking for friendly volunteers to join our team working hard to enable people with dementia to stay physically and socially active.Join us and make a valuable contribution to your community,…Continue

Using Gardening to Address Social Isolation

Started by Growing Support May 3, 2017. 0 Replies

How You Can Help Tackle Social Isolation in Your CommunityRecent research shows up to 50% of older people living in care never go outside and they are twice as likely to experience severe loneliness…Continue

Starting a Therapeutic Horticulture Project

Why therapeutic horticulture?

National organisation Thrive describe social and therapeutic horticulture as a wonderfully flexible medium that can transform lives and can help everyone, regardless of age or disability.

The benefits of a sustained and active interest in gardening include:

  • Better physical health through exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility
  • Improved mental health through a sense of purpose and achievement
  • The opportunity to connect with others – reducing feelings of isolation or exclusion
  • Acquiring new skills to improve the chances of finding employment
  • Just feeling better for being outside, in touch with nature and in the 'great outdoors'

Social and therapeutic horticulture is the formal name given to the process of using gardening, plants and horticulture to help individuals develop. The diagram below shows the many many benefits of social and therapeutic horticulture with overall health and well-being at the centre.

Courtesy of Thrive

Starting a Project in Somerset

Getting a project off the ground can be challenging, whoever its users are. Thankfully there is a lot of advice out there about how to start a therapeutic horticulture project, and their have been a number of inspiring examples in Somerset.

The best first step would be to contact the organisations below and visit existing projects, to help you decide what you really want to achieve and how you can learn from those that have gone before you.

Inspiring examples in Somerset

The Vanessa Project, Yeovil


Grow Well, Taunton

The Growing Space, Wincanton Balsam Centre was initiated as a healthy living centre in 1999, achieving children’s centre status in 2007.  The Growing Space is a charity that forms part of the Healthy Living Centre and Children’s Centre; it is also the name of The Centre’s productive gardens.

The Growing Space provides services to adults and children living within a 10 mile radius of Wincanton who are recovering from, or currently experiencing, mental ill health, or whose disability or disadvantage can be redressed through developing a happier, more content lifestyle. The Charity provides a service unique to this area. There are no other agencies offering this sort of programme locally and it fills a gap in services provided by statutory medical and educational agencies.

Service delivery is undertaken by 2 paid members of staff and 10 volunteers. The Charity has worked successfully with 200 people per year since it was constituted in 2000. It offers planned gardening and horticultural activities that will contribute to the recovery process and/or build emotional resilience. For information about their work visit:

Resources & Further Information

  • Thrive, national charity dedicated to therapeutic horticulture, offering advice, courses and more.

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