Get Up & Grow, a day to celebrate therapeutic horticulture, took place last Friday. Held at The Marwick Centre, home of South Somerset Mind and the Vanessa Project, the day was a great success with people walking in and out throughout the day to find out more about how gardening can change lives.
Opened by Lesley Jelleyman from Yeovil in Bloom, the day brought together regular users of the Vanessa Project as well as people from across Somerset who are interested in how horticulture can support wellbeing.
Stalls and talks from projects shared stories of people that had positively benefited from getting their hands in the soil and growing food and more. There were presentations about the inspiring Balsam Centre in Wincanton, that has been bringing people together through gardening for over a decade, as well as Taunton Mind who shared information on their Ecotherapy Projects, including Grow Well, a successful horticulture project.
“When I come to the Vanessa Project, I stop being a patient and start being a worker,” said a long-term volunteer at the project. “Research has shown what we feel to be true – that being in a natural environment has a restorative influence even to the point of increasing the pain threshold”, says Alison Hayward, Project Coordinator of the Vanessa Project.
The Vanessa Project is an award-winning and inspiring community allotment project that aims to support people with mental health challenges to increase self-esteem and confidence as well as learning empowering skills such as growing your own food. Their funding is set to end this September, £8000 alone would keep the site open and supporting people in South Somerset for another year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for how to get involved or make a donation. Grassroots support will be more important than ever in an increasing climate of cuts.
Are you interested in learning more about therapeutic horticulture? Do you work in mental health and are interested in starting a growing project or vice versa?
Somerset Community Food are working in partnership with South Somerset Mind to develop a training package to help people get started. If you are interested, please email: email@example.com or download the leaflet here.
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