There is nothing more beautiful than nature

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The benefits of gardening on one’s overall health and wellbeing are well-known. From stimulating our senses to helping us be more confident and stay physically active, spending even a little bit of time outdoors can do wonders for our health and wellbeing. Nature has a calming effect on our minds, while gardening can also help us connect with others and build a sense of community. As we were reminded earlier this week by Kate Allardyce, Thrive’s London Centre Manager, “for many, gardening has been a lifeline at a difficult time or a stepping stone to give them the confidence and skills to go on to other opportunities.” 

Thrive – the gardening for health charity – uses social and therapeutic horticulture to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disability or ill health as well as people who are isolated, disadvantaged, or are vulnerable. 

In marking Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place from May 13 to may 19, we’re sharing this inspiring story from one of the participants of Thrive Battersea’s Pathways Programme. As this participant’s story reminds us, ‘there’s nothing more beautiful than nature’. 

“As an adult I’ve discovered gardening, which I love. I really benefitted from gardening while I was in hospital. It helped me with my condition, and I thought I want to do this because mental illness, nature and gardening go together. It’s a perfect combination because it really benefits your health. If you’re not feeling too good you can turn to gardening because it will always lift you up. It’ll change your mood and the way you’re thinking, and you have peace of mind. Being out in nature is wonderful for any health condition, not just mental health.

I used to play in Battersea Park when I was young, so I joined Thrive, and I’m really enjoying it. I’m learning a lot from the staff and the people who come. It’s nice to have the company and I’m building confidence. Hopefully after six months of learning new things, I can begin the horticulture Level One course which I’m hoping to achieve. I don’t work at the moment, but I want to start my own gardening business.

When I finish a garden day here I feel really good. When I first joined Thrive, I felt aches and pains but now I’ve strengthened my body, and I’ve strengthened my mind and my motivation. I feel a part of something great and that’s so important. I feel as though I’m giving back to society and making the park nice for the local people to enjoy.

I live alone and this fills a void in my life. I would say to anyone thinking of gardening with Thrive, pop in and say hello. You don’t necessarily need to love gardening but it’s a great place to be, in nature – there’s nothing more beautiful than nature.”

Social and Therapeutic Horticulture utilises the positive benefits of plants and gardening with others in an outdoor setting to improve physical and mental health, develop skills and promote learning, increase social interaction, and improve confidence and independence. It uses the garden as a safe and secure place to develop someone’s ability, make friends and learn practical skills that will help them to be more independent. As a purpose-driven company, at CoirProducts, we continue to promote conversation on the importance of gardening for mental health and support charities such as Thrive.

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